Cybercriminals use all manner of nefarious scheme to try to get unsuspecting consumers to share with information, so when a particularly covetable piece of electronics gets announced, they often pounce. Case in point, the iPhone 12, which was recently revealed by Apple and has launched Stateside.

While those in other parts, such as South Africa for example, still wait for the devices to go up for pre-order, Kaspersky has issued a press release warning against precisely that.

Here the cybersecurity specialists warn that criminals like to use pre-orders as a means of gaining sensitive information, and the fervour around the iPhone provides the perfect lure.

This usually takes the form of a fake pre-order site, which may look look legitimate, but it is far more sinister.

“The websites typically include a ‘call to action’ for the user to leave a prepayment or some personal information. If the victim falls for the scheme, all the data and money go to the scammers. Interestingly, on most of the resources, users were not just offered to place a pre-order, but were also motivated to participate in a win-win lottery promoting that they could win a new iPhone. For this purpose it was necessary for the user to answer some questions, and following that, the user was redirected to the next poll (and so on),” explains Kaspersky in a press release sent to Hypertext.

“As a result, the victim was redirected to a page where it was necessary to pay a small sum for goods or services of the sponsors of the lottery. After that, the user could allegedly get a new iPhone for free, or the procedure with a redirect could go on forever. In this case, the attackers can probably get certain bonuses for traffic, while collecting a large amount of personal data,” it adds.

The coming festive season should prove particular profitable for cybercriminals, as it is not only the iPhone 12 that could be used as a lure. There is also new gaming hardware in the form of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S that could also make use of a similar pre-order tactic.

As such, it’s important for consumers to remain vigilant, and as always, if a pre-order deal draws even a hint of suspicion, it is best to avoid.

We’d like to remind users that messages about pre-orders should be checked in reliable sources. At the same time, do not follow the links from suspicious letters or messages in messengers and social networks, as well as participate in suspicious lotteries,” adds Tatyana Sidorina, security researcher at Kaspersky.