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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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Hi sounds like the same guy I'm chatting with on hangouts ...he needs I tune cards to up grade his phone for we can chatt ...I have bought I tunes card for him ..but he does not text me much after that...he is in Lagos nigeria..he said hes working now to get his flight ticket for he can return home to his kids...he from Florida..west palm beach he said..when he calls me he sounds like his phone is plugged into another devic... I hear clicking in the back ground hes says oh no its nothing... he gets mad very very easy when you tell him no he goes in a fit of rage and starts cussing me.....please if you dont mind could you tell me his name.

I have been reading the comments I'm goin through the same thing but this guys name is david williams and meet on Instagram and now he is demanding a iTunes card for his phone to have data and today it was he needs an amazon card cause he locked it up but our stories sound so familiar

Dose his name happen to be Chauncey hannedyer?? I believe i might be the next

What did his picture look like?
I gave a similar person currently messaging me. Well built, military short hair style. Claims to be German but looks like a “in the movies, stereotypical ‘Russian’”.
Says he’s on assignment over in another country. Saying he needs $50 iTunes card to keep his internet service up so we can continue to communicate/message each other.....sigh....so frustrating

Wow mine say something that need either steam card or Amazon to stay online to chat with me

I just talked to a guy who claimed to be German, living in Oregon, Russian type and sounded Russian on voice note. He appears as Bradscott_23. Met on Instagram, He told me a story about wanting to get to know me, etc and asked for the iTunes cards. Of course I blocked him right away!! Don’t believe this scammer!

I think we talked to the same guy he was from New York in the same place had son to he actually showed me a pic we talked for awhile then he asked for money then iTunes card I refused the next morning I tried to txt him and he completely disappeared no sign of him becareful

That sounds like the guy I'm talking to now he said his parents died when he was 7 in a car crash and he asked me to get him gift card for his 8 year old son he said he was in the military and he lives in New York

Can you tell me the name of this guy. I think my friend and you are talking to the same person

I have pictures I’d love to compare still kind of haggling so don’t want to put too much here you know. Ugh so unbelievable

I have fake photos of my scammer too,,,and I will post them to warn other women not to believe the man in the photos are talking to you.

Do you know what his name was it sound Familiar to the same thing his from Florida his was look for love that his fall in love with me his the only child of his parents kill in car accidents and his son 6 year old his tell me all this sweet thing do have picture of him

Hey Leah
This sounds similar to a guy who was talking to me. He’s in the military all his family is dead and he’s an only child. He needs a iTunes card to activate his phone so we can talk and he has no one to help him. Do you have pictures?

Same here.. military man needs a card to update his laptop bit he has money in oil reserves and will be out in 3 months

I have a friend that has a man that said he is in the military and needs itune cards to make phone calls. He says all kinds of things to her about how when he gets home he will have all this money and they can get married but she won't believe me that he is scamming her and she continues to buy these men Amazon and itune cards and I can't talk her out if it she believes them over me and I don't know what to do. Someone please help

I start talk to someone around Jan this year his told me somethings that his come take me my daugther out here when come back from state and write this love letter I even talk on fb call

I was scammed by this guy. He showed me lots of pictures of his house and cars. We talked a few months and I was gullible enough to trust him with my credit card online account. He deposited 7,000 on my account and ask for iTunes cards. I sent him 3500 in cards. Needless to say the deposit he made was cancelled and invalid. I'm out 3500 and feel terrible.

I got very close to being scammed with the itunes scam, but when i thought about it i was like well wait a minute, does all of this make sense. I met a guy online and he claimed to give me 1500 a month, then today he goes "oh i did tell you you have to use itunes. I was like uhh no that is a scam and needless to say he didnt know i knew my reseach by having a friend that works for apple and knows everything about the company and products.

This guy just scammed my co- worker. He used the name Brian Brochu. He sent her love poems. Her credit card showed that he made a payment so she sent itune card. Then payment was invalid.

Would the name be Gray Moore. Has daughter in boarding school. Is on an oil platform in the ocean

Can you tell me how he looks? Someone contacted me by Instagram telling me that he is a Marine Engineer and that he is on an oil platform in Ireland. He lives in Washington, State and has a 19-year-old daughter

I've been communicating with a guy named David Andre. He says he was born in US; raised in S. Africa. Has a 15 yr old daughter. An engineer on oil rig in Germany. Was recently robbed and stabbed in Ireland during layover on flight to US. Was out sightseeing during layover. Because he was robbed; he has no money and need money to cover medical expenses. Sends me romantic messages every morning and communicate throughout the day. African American, 6ft with beard and mustache. Is this the same guy?

Sounds like the same guy except he said his name is Jordan Israel from Baltimore Maryland.

Oh my gosh did Jordan have a young son? Lost his parents raised by Father something? Fell in love instantly was way into church gorgeous man tattoos everywhere feel like it OX? I have pictures on my gosh I wish that this was a live chat

Does he call you every evening? Played a piano in church? Mom had to move; she now lives with his Aunt.

I've been chatting with a guy who was from NY. Grandson in boarding school and got a contract on oil rig in north sea. So many bells went off and i felt sorry for him. Until today when he said he needed itune card to communicate. My hangout account was not my real email account. I never trusted him enough.

Omg...what was his name?

I think I just talked to this guy...same MO...daughter in boarding school...in Fl and is a marine engineer...wanted me to marry him after talking to him for 1 day because I was the perfect woman....send pictures of himself and looked very charming...then today he asked me for money for his business. I read him the riot act and told him what I thought of his attempt to scam me and told him he was scum..I was actually waiting to see how long it would take him to try and scam me..he tried to explain but I indeed cancelled the Hangout app because that's all that is on there...I had read some of these because another one who claimed to be a doctor in the UK wanted ITunes cards to get more data...told him no and have deleted the app and all the scammers...

I receive these emails from time to time. What these fake soldiers and sailors fail to grasp is that Uniform Cose of Military Justice, which applies to ALL US military personnel proscribes looting which is defined as removing anything of material value from a combat theater.

I had similar things to happen to me too. But anywhere I sent in the fake photos and name,,, they don't resolve it or refer me to someone else. My scammer made many promises too,,, but he wasn't military. He was from cargo ship for OPEC. I was used for 10,000 in two years time. Even after I found proof on him,,, he still denied it. He started out with western union in the states BC he said he's from Texas. I sent wu to Texas,,Ohio. Then he wanted iTunes cards. The last times was Steam cards,,but said BC I messed up one card,,, he couldn't redeem. I emailed the card company,,, they said it was redeemed in their system, I called him a liar and I knew he was trying to get extra 100 from me. He was ignoring what I said,,, so I blocked him.

Oh my gosh this is exactly what happened to me!!

This scammers got me for 1400.00 +. They said they were from Microsoft Corporation to pay off a $300 warranty for life. Dum me they also told me that a Virus was in my computer creating errors. I trusted them since they said they were from Microsoft I let them access my computer. Of course I fell for it. They threatened to lock up my computer, which they did anyway. So BEWARE for these scammers saying they are Microsoft Corporation technicians. The name of the tehnician I talked to was Richard Smith. I reported it to Microsoft and filed a complaint and to the Attorney Generals from Texas and California. I need to file to the FTC too. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Wow richard smith. I was talking to a so called military man named smith Richards he said he is in Egypt on peace mission. First asked me for $760 for a ticket home because he missed me and just could not be without me I said no because I was already scammed by a man using the name Markham Latin oh that person used me but any way. Sir Richards then said military is cutting off the internet and he needed a itune card stupid me knowing I already got scammed sent one then a month later he says it is now used up if I could send an Amazon card for same reason I said no so a week after that he said if I didn't send an other itune card we will not be able to communicate so I said ok because I am not sending anymore then I know he blocked me witch is fine but a week after I get a text from. A different name and a boy saying he is the son of sir Richards this is all texts no calls ever I never heard ether of there voices the son said his dad told him to check on me and if I would do the itune I said I was not working and couldn't

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. 

Can you push this serious topic into action. This is a serious Crime. The FBI doesn’t help at all, unless we talk about millions of dollars and give them a $100,000 reward to investigate and arrest these bad guys. There are so many victims out there got Scam from iTunes Cards. I am one of the victim. He started to send me a chat message on Instagram, Then told me to download Hangout Apps and gave me a Google Voice number to text his cell and start to say he Falls in love and Wanted a future. A week later, I called him, Omg he sounded like an Indian, Middle East with strong accent that sounded awful, as he said he is a white guy from Matthatan New York. Then I hung up and he said his phone got hacks and he needs to get some iTunes card to upgrade the phone security. That’s why he changed his voice so hackers doesn’t know him bc he has a Lawsuit. (Apple does this? You can change a different voice on iPhone?) This is scary. So then I believed him. He then needs $300 iTunes Cards every week to upgrade his security, which I bought and spent substantial amounts for 5-6 months. During these months, he convinced me to send him some money for the Lawsuits , which I sent huge huge amounts that you would think how stupid I am sending him that much of money to help him. He is very convincing at asking for Money.
What can the FBI? Is this case too small for them to actually work hard on it? Can they track where the iTunes card were used, location, and methods, and what for? Does Apple asked their name and info when they use iTunes Cards?

If you sent money by wire transfer, you can report that to the wire transfer company. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

You can also report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

You can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 to report what happened and ask questions about the cards.

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.

I've filed a report on the itune gift card scam and have not heard anything, nor got a reply to say they received it. The scumbags got
away with it $800 and i happen to have screen shots and text messages from the creeps. so i am out $800 and feel violated and stupid.

Bridgett, has anyone ever gotten their money back from the iTunes scams? I was scammed today and filed a complaint with you guys. I don't want to go to local police Bc I feel so stupid! The consumer or store I bought them from can't do anything can they?

After you give someone an iTunes card, or the code from the back of a card, they take control of the card immediately. If they use the value of the card, you can't get it back. You can also report a scam to Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273. If you found the scammer through an ad or account on a website, you can report that to the website's customer support.

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