Scammers push people to pay with iTunes gift cards

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One thing we know about scammers — they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back.

Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose as a family member or online love interest who needs your help fast. But as soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.

If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card. Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Government offices won’t require you to use these payment methods.

If you get targeted by a scam like this, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Want to know more about avoiding scams? Read 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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I just got burnt by advance America got me for 241.00 then wanted more for other fees. Told them no all of the sudden I didn't qualify!

I AM SO GLAD that I did my research first and saw your reply!! RIGHT NOW someone from Advance Cash America is trying to get me to pay $481 and telling me I will be taken to court and the papers have already been filed. Said the debt was from 2013. I almost fell for it until they said to buy an iTune card. OMG! This is AWFUL that people do this!

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. Give as many details as you can about the call. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

the fbi and local police are leaving it up to the irs to do their own investigation.

Just got hit by one today. Same story. U have to pay $678 or we will file a warrent for arrest. I was going to make it in 3 payments but got skeptical when it said buy an iTunes card. So I started looking on the internet to see if there were scams like this. Glad I found this blog.

I'm glad you avoided the scam. Please report what happened at FTC.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you post here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I tried reporting my complaint but couldn't pass the amount I've spent.

Hello, do not understand what u mean by "couldn't pass the amount u've spent"

Anyhow, i too was a recent victom and did not think QUICK ENOUGH to search online for iTune/gov grant scams❗My mistake cost me $250 upon providing "Nick Sharma of Federal Reserve Bank Accounting Mgr" with the cards' serial code revealed upon sratching off the silver❗

How do u get your money back

Same thing happened to me today!
I feel so stupid but when threatened I let fear take over and purchased $300 in ITunes cards. I reported it. Out $300 but lesson learned unfortunately too late.

I have an employee who is going through this. He has made payments to them. The problem is , they are calling my work number (where he works). They call 1,000 times until he makes arrangements with them. The FTC can't do anything (we filed a complaint). They stated it was a "third party". I can't have my company numbers being tied up and employees being harassed.

You can also report problems with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under federal law, a debt collector can't harass the debtor or the third parties it contacts by making repeated phone calls. This article about debt collection lists more practices that are off limits for a debt collector. 

This is 100% happening everywhere!! Today I got in a call with a guy claiming to be from the IRS. He demanded payment ASAP for alleged back taxes from 2012 which I had but thought I had paid in full. They were totally insane pushy, telling me if we get disconnected in the phone he'd call the cops. Well I hung up. Ten mins later I get a call from the local PD. Freaked me out enough to call back and say listen. Why do I pay with iTunes cards?? Said it was the fed govt way of collecting payment. Then was put in with another "officer" he was even worse saying I'll be arrested in front of my kids ( this whole thing went down on my truck Bluetooth) finally had enough and next call to me was from a penitentiary in Columbus Ohio. Both times the scammers used real numbers from real PD's. Be careful. Btw.... They all sounded foreign yet used names like John Adams... Mike Black.... Be careful...

I got woken up from a call stating almost the exact same thing. Said if I hang up I would be arrested the next day. They told me to go down to Busy Best or somewhere that I could by an Itunes card. I fell for it. I was half asleep, he even said the Department of Homeland Security was on the line but I could not talk to them. Like you I had back taxes and thought I had paid them but was not sure. They first asked for 1250 or again I would be arrested the next day. I have a bad heart and started a bout of tachycardia about 140+ beats per minutes. And like an idiot I fell for it. But said I only had 250 dollars to my name and they said that was ok they will not forward to local police for an arrest warrent. I feel so dumb. I should know better. I do security audits for a living, has my CISA and 1 year shy of my Doctorate. But I am semi-retired and in my 50's . I used to worry when my Dad was alive of him falling for these kind of things. Oh at first they asked me 3 things, have I ever had a traffic ticket, have I ever filed bankruptcy and something else. Well yes I have, but everyone can get at that info. I run background checks on my daughter's boyfriends there is so much info flying around out there in the net. No more facebook for me, only used it for picks but your birthday is out there, if you ever turn on location it will imprint that on the picture so you can take a picture of your burger and you friends can see what you ate and where ate it at. I just got off the phone with the local PD and I personally know the Chief and he said no way is that not a scam. Plus having a wife pass recently I had no one to discuss this with either. And yes they were all foreign but had names like Bob and Mark, and when I said I want it escalated I got someone else and I think it was the same person.

Be careful - oh I also asked them how do they know they have the right person. There were 3 with the same name as me in this house at one time, as I am a JR and so Is my son and we all lived together until my Dad passed at one time. I would like to change my number but hate to because it was the business line they called and I don't want to miss out on a client.

And why did it not set off a bell in my mind when he said it must be a ITunes card.

Okay - I vented and told my story not I have to try and relax.

It just happened to me his id # was 694291350 .said he was from microsoft.told me to stay on hold and gopurchase I tune cards in the amount of $100.00 3 of them and dontdon't tell them what they are for.

IRS will NEVER ever call you first! They only call after having sent out at least two written notices via US post office and then only if you have ignored those notices. If they threaten you with things like they will call the cops on you tell them do it. Or tell them hey I will meet you at the pf in 10 minutes as they are only a block from me. I am turning myself in

I just scammed myself with $500 bu USfcash advance.. I feel so bad and dumb,. This person got me good with the itune card now I don't how to get my money back I almost paid another $150 but something told me not to pay and research and this is where I am now in short$500

H I was told that I was to receive a government grant for $9600. They said that I owed Missouri tax $500 before they could release my funds. When I pay the $500 they asked me for additional $200 to activate transaction. I was out for $800. Mark Williams was the scammer. The calls show up from NY 646-680-0872 ext 117.

This same exact named person just scammed my friend out of $650 using the same exact story!!! We just filed reports with local enforcement and the federal trade commission yesterday. Then I took my friend to lunch and they call her back threatening to send federal officers if she didn't pay the remainder of $300 dollars within 48 hours...ruthless!!

IVE DONE THE SAME THING. THEY TRIED TO MAKE ME BUY AND ITUNES GIFT CARD AND PUT 200 $ THEN THE 8,200 WAS MINE. WHAT A SCAM!!!

That just happened to me today an I barked that mans ear off I payed $230.00 I'm glad I stopped after that an research up on the scams after the store manager told that there scams going on.

You could help law enforcement by reporting what happened. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and tell us what happened.

You can choose how much information to give about yourself, and you can give details about the scammer who called you & what he said. That information helps law enforcement do investigations.

same here except $9200 for itune card of 200 to give to fedx

I had a similar experience and I fell for it. I am now 4000.00 in debt for buying I tunes for Lending Club

That just happened to me Wednesday, the scammers are using lending club company to scam everyone, if you apply online at lending club and get a call from 210-401-1437 do not answer its a scammer, FBI is working on this case.

So is lending club a scam

Yes Lending Club is a scam. They got me. They kept telling me to pay fees inorder to get a loan. They kept calling me and hassling me, so I changed my phone number.

Hi just got a call from Lending Club as well.sent me $300 wants me to send $200 in iTunes card. Then will recieve $8000. Im assuming a scam right?

If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card.

If you're offered a loan, but you have to send money first, chances are you will lose the money you sent and won't get a loan.

I got called by a company who sent me $680 as a verification fee. Next day told me to send it back by buying iTunes gift cards to the tune of $650. I did so, and same day they said "your credit is not high enough" and sent me another $920 to raise my credit score. Said after getting that money back, buying $900 worth of iTunes gift cards (from the money they sent to me), then I would get my loan. Is this a scam? I'm not exactly using my own money--its money they sent me.

This is the same thing they did to me and said my money would be available at midnight so I'm hoping it isn't a scam.. It was their own Money they used even if it was! I will update soon as I know for sure!

Hi chances are yes its a scam if they are sending you money and want you to purchase itunes gift cards to send the money back to them and they send more just for more gift cards just to get a loan. Just check into it before you proceed any further with it because you don't want to be held responsible for any bad checks (if they're sending by check). Hope that helps.

I just went through the same thing this morning with Lending Club. The Financial accountant name is Jeff Thompson at (772)777-1176. On yesterday $983.79 was sent to me. My bank put a hold on that deposit til June 19, 2017. This morning Jeff wanted me to go to Walmart and load $900 on 18 Itune gift card. The customer service cashier told me right off that it was a scam. I handed her the gift cards back and I walked out the store. I had Jeff from Lending Club on the phone and told him what the walmart customer service cashier said. Jeff wanted me to send the money back as money gram or western union. I informed him that the deposit was placed on hold. Then he said he would call me later after I got off work. Right now I haven't lost any money or spent any money because it's their money. But I did change my bank passwords.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Please report it at ftc.gov/complaint so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

I'm not sure if it's a scam but I just got conned into doing this but they sent me 200 and I had to buy 100 card and then my loan would be processed for 5000. I'm still waiting on the call back!

If someone you don't know offers to send you money, or wants you to send them money, it's a sign of a scam.

Sometimes, when scammers want to move stolen money, they get other people involved. They pretend to hire them, and tell them to open bank accounts and deposit and send money. Or, they start an online "romance" and ask their sweetheart to open a bank account to send money as a favor.

If you give your bank account number and personal information to a scammer, there's a risk of identity theft. The FTC has tips about what to do if information is lost or stolen.

It's a scam!! They will findo a way to get all the funds and your account will be negative. I know, because it happened to me. Report it to your bank immediately!!

I justgot scammed by lending club today

OMG, me too,. I'm from Honolulu, Hawaii and it happened to beginning of September 2016 with 1st one from Swift Loan Online -approved for $5000. Western Union 10% of the loan which was $500 (insurance fee) & refundable money will be in account in about 45 min, 45 min came n went. Called them up 1(800) 636-8026 (terry Cowan, Matthew and a lady with no accent claims to be the District Manager)

Now they are telling me that the check came back and needs to go to the release manager and need to pay $499 (release fee) & refundable- nothing. I cussed them out boy - about $1300 from my checking I took out and now about 2 months behind, applying for payday loans (man they eat you dry)

Then another one with Quick Cash 1(626) 888 4662 (Mark brown or Adam) , mobile direct $989 into my checking and then I needed to withdraw the money ASAP and money gram & I did figuring it wasn't my money, second time, AdAm wants to clear out my -500 (cause they have access I'm the fool ), he sent again & I money grammed again.

Then he told me the $7000 will be deposited into my account but I need to do one more transaction - NO WAY I AINT DOING IT,.,, the money is in here $2000.. OMG it's 400 in the morning he calls told him Walmart don't open till 7:00am for money gram and I started at 6 am. I started snappin told him this n that then he tells me to purchase $1400 in iTunes card, after all scanned, my card gets declined. WTF so I called him back, blah, blah blah, I was on the Internet getting information from my bank I answered his call - BOOM he tells me " I ALREADY HAD MADE A COMPLAINT ON YOU THAT U RUN AWAY WITH MY MONEy.. Blah blah blah I went off !! Go Ahead and call your mama, call the president cause I don't give a f*** how dare you look at my profile on FB. When he told me if I ride a motor cycle ii was like ... Huh

Anyway they never got their $2000 are their iTunes cards cause I already had informed my bank. Sick people. And another one wants me to purchase an apple iTunes electric card, put $250 so he can make sure I have funds . Loan approved for $10000. Give the confirmation my conversation number to verify funds in account t. I told this Guy I think. I going pass

i got scamed by ghedient systems saying i had been hacked and my wife and my bank acct was not secure when all was over they got us for 2350.00.

Can you narate the story better..I am being scam right now..

so did they actually deposit the funds in your account after you paid them with an ITunes card??? Did you at least get to use the money for the purpose you wanted and now you are short that amount in your account?? I need to know because I am caught up in this and want to know what happens

Did u receive your money?

I just bought 2 $100 iTunes gift cards for lending tree. The deposited 998 in my account and said to get these cards called in then the rest of the funds would be deposited?

So I received a call from (832) area: Spring, Texas.. 1(832) 510-7797, but a very suspicious 'Hector Coleman' is supposedly involved with bank by the same name: Capital Bank Financial Corporation... but they are NOT found in Texas! The caller requests #iTunes card as 'verification' ( payment ) for loan processing & they want the PIN! SURPRISE!!!!!

Same thing happened to me yesterday.Fell pray as i am new to US . I thot it is genuine call from 911, then IRS and then Local police number. I paid 4000$ .Its all gone. Is there any way,i can get my money back.

You could contact Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask them to disable the codes from the cards, if the codes haven't been used yet. If the codes have been used, you can't get your money back.

Please report what happened to the FTC at FTC.gov/complain so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

U just got that same one lol

I think I just got scammed today. Bought $150 in ITunes gift card and gave info to Consumer Loans who then transferred me to the bank manager who said he was with Net Bank in Seattle Washington. He proceeded to tell me he needed $600 in ITunes cards however I would get all of the money back. $15,000 plus the $600 and the $150.00. I did not give the $600. Here are the phone numbers. Katherine at ext 120. 360-819-1153 And she is the one who got the $150.00. Then she verified and then transferred me to her bank manager at 206-596-0810. This is such a rip off. I will report.

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