iPhone 5: If Rumors Spiked Massive Scam Increase, What Will Launch Do?
Fri, Sep 14, 2012 by Mary Landesman
Undoubtedly, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 are flooding in for Apple today. Will SMS scammers follow suit with a surge in iPhone 5 scams? After all, last February’s iPhone 5 release rumors spawned a pretty massive spike in iPhone 5 scams so it stands to reason the actual release of the device will have an even larger impact. While it’s still too soon to tell, here’s an overview of iPhone 5 SMS scams thus far this year.
The chart below shows the February spike and the March 2012 peak (4851 unique pitches) that occurred as a result of the iPhone 5 rumors. The number of unique pitches is telling because it indicates how much effort is being put into a specific scam (and thus serves as a possible indicator of how successful the particular scam is in netting new victims).
While the number of unique pitches isn’t necessarily indicative of total volume, we find that in most cases the higher the number of unique pitches the scammers employ, then the higher the overall volume of that particular spam run. And that’s certainly the case with the iPhone 5 scams – the volume follows a near identical trajectory.
It’s pretty obvious the scammers are closely tracking iPhone 5 launch developments. In March 2012, over 99% of iPhone 5 related SMS spam were so-called “Test & Keep” scams and only 0.81% tried to convince the recipient they had won an iPhone 5. However, thus far in September only 33% have “Test % Keep” as the hook, whereas 56% claim the recipient has won an iPhone 5.
Most telling, of the September iPhone 5 winner scams, all but 0.4% (zero point 4 percent) occurred on September 12 and 13. Which means the scammers are paying close attention to the launch and tailoring their pitch accordingly. Does that mean there will be a marked increase in iPhone-related SMS scams in the near future? Given the significant impact the February rumors had on overall volume, it’s quite likely – but of course it’s much too soon to tell. We’ll be watching.