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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

Comments

Unfortunately i became victim of this today. Is there a way to block the itunes card number that i gave them to over phone. I already reported this incident Federal Trade commission

You could contact Apple Customer Support. They may be able to help you get a refund from the retail card seller when funds are still on the cards. Apple Customer Support may ask you to provide a police report and other documents, like a receipt for the cards. Apple may not make refunds directly, but may refer you back to the retailer, and work to contact the retailer about a refund.

I got a similar call from a 911 number and then a genuine IRS number, he himself showed me the # on IRS website. I was not aware that the IRS would never call. Then he trapped me to walk out of my workplace drive my car to an address he gave. The address was bestbuy and then he told me I need to buy apple gift cards. I was so much into all of it, my brain was blocked and I did not realize this was a scam. I brought the gift cards blindly just so that I wanted to stay away from legal complications. I have lost a huge amount($8000). I feel stupid and I seriously want these scammers arrested so that people who work hard every single day are not ripped off.

I got a phone call today saying that they were from Microsoft and I had errors and warnings that needed to be removed from my computer and how my computer network was compromised by hackers. It was a Scam. They said I need to go get a $200 itunes card to pay for computer network protection for 3 years which cost 199.00. I did not do it!! The call came from Washington the number is 206-430-5057. I spoke with Larry Lee and Ron. I am sure these are all fake names! Please be careful!!!

Yes they called me today on the same way.Unfortunately I was convicted and I went to Wallgreence to buy iTunes cards.Luckyl store manager immidiately noticed me this is a scamming. They wanted me to pay 2.3279 dollars. And them I called local police department they directed me Web site www.ic3.gov to complaint

Hello do the us federal grant called me saying I get $8000 deposited in my account each month and I won't have to pay it back. He said its sponsored by iTunes. Now he wants me to transfer the money through Walgreens to pay the security fee I have to pay half of 800 to get 4000

He also said that I haven't heard about these benefits before and that means it's not a scam is that true?

I had to call various numbers too

This sounds like a scam. The federal government is not giving people grants, or putting money in people's bank accounts. If someone says you will get money, but you have to give him money first, it's probably a scam. If you send him money, you will probably lose it. If you tell him your bank account number, he can take money out.

They are trying this with me now. Call this number 206-801-1795 Ask for Ryan Butler or Mike Thomas. They claim they are with US government grant. They say they know i was scammed and they trying to help me get my funds.

Some scammers make a list of people they ripped off, then call them back and pretend they'll help you 'recover what you lost.' It's called a refund and recovery scam.

If someone says they're from a government agency that will recover your lost money if you pay them, report them immediately to the FTC.

Just got told by advance America for a loan of $5,000 to purchase a iTunes card for $300 and my loan would be deposited in 45 mins or less. Glad I caught this thread. Florida phone#. Bob Cooper,Mike Smith were names used,all sounded middle eastern.

Ok I have a very important question I got called telling me I got approved for a government grant that I dont havecto pay back in the amount of 7,000 the second call was 9,000 the three called was 7,800 . The first and second call was never mention about purchasing a $250 itunes gift card to receive the money. I confuse on if its a scam or not. I had ask then to email my documents letting my see this government approval in my name, they have not excepted my request for that .

It's probably a scam. The government is not giving out grants.

The people who called you are probably scammers who want you to send iTunes codes, so they can use them or resell them. Once you tell someone the code from an iTunes card, he takes control of it. You can't get your money back.

If you tell him your bank account number because he says he'll deposit money, he can take money from your account. If you send him your personal information or copies of your documents he could use that for identity theft.

This article about government grant scams  tells you more.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE EVER GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION TO SOMEONE CONTACTING YOU - IF THEY ARE CONTACTING YOU, THEY SHOULD HAVE YOUR INFO.DO NOT EVER PAY PAY FOR ANYTHING IN ADVANCE- EVER!!!!

Here is a few numbers claimed to be IRS giving grants to to people who have paid taxes on time & want to give a refund. they claim that you have money coming to you & all you have to do is buy i tunes cards, scratch off the back of the card and they will wire money to your bank. DON'T DO IT_- HERE ARE THE PHONE NUMBERS OF RECEIVED CALLS 646-582-2989, 347-778-2537 EXT 679 & 646-653-3284 Ray was the contact.PLEASE DON'T BE A VICTIM OF THIS SCAM` I Hope they get caught!!!

I got scammed by the IRS scam using iTunes gift cards. I've spent over 9 hours calling Apple, spoken to 10 people, and nothing. They won't do a thing. They allow this to continue because the cards are used to purchase their products. So, in the end, they are the ones that get the money. There has to be something all of us can collectively do....Class-action lawsuit? They told me they get thousands of these calls a day and yet do nothing to stop this problem. Imagine the amount of money this equates to. Thousands of calls a day, thousands of dollars spent buying their cards and spent buying their products. Of course they aren't going to do anything to stop it...they're making money off the scam at the expense of countless victims. They make me sick. I will never buy an Apple product again.

I'm sorry this happened to you. You can help law enforcement by reporting to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. It helps law enforcement see the size of a problem.

You may want to report what happened to the corporate customer service staff of the store where you bought the card.

JUST happened to me yesterday! a "RON MARTIN, Senior Agent with the Treasury Department, Badge # : IRM 7747." He called me from :206-855-3080 and gave me a "direct #" : 202-275-2273.

My 23 year old daughter just was subject to this Terrorist scam. They had her on the phone for 2-3 hours and despite her knowning that it wasn't feeling right, threatened her to the point of having her drive down to the grocery store and get $800 (all the money she has) put onto 2 iTunes gift cards.

Every time she tried to get off the phone (to call us) they threatened 7 years in jail, fines going from $3K up to $70K. They were still on the phone when she drove to my office and came in nearly a wreck as they continued to threaten her that she still needed the balance of the money.

My husband and I spent the rest of the morning/afternoon with her and the police, the bank, the store, iTunes support. iTunes representative stated that the money had transferred to China. She also stated that this was her 8th call like this today. Pure terrorism and theft. We will file a complaint but the county authorities stated that they will do nothing realistically. How can we help shut this down and put these people away. Apple needs to figure a way to protect their cards now that thieves have figured a way to use their cards. I'm sure they do not want this publicity. How can we, the victims help?

 You can help law enforcement by reporting to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The details you give go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations nationwide. When people file reports, it helps law enforcement spot patterns and trends in the scams.

If your daughter shared any personal information and is worried a scammer might use it, she can read about warning signs of identity theft.

You may also want to report this to the corporate customer service department of the store where your daughter bought the cards, or ask the company to educate front line clerks about the scam.

If your daughter wants to share her story with local media, you could contact your local media’s call for action lines.

I had a similar experience yesterday where they had me on the phone and rush to CVS to buy itunes cards. It was a Seattle number which when we called back was a police station/call center in Seattle though during the conversation he said he was in Texas and that a Texas officer will come to arrest you for interrogation. Luckily my daughter called my husband who came from work to stop me from sending the numbers. We called itunes and CVS helpline to get the refund and we are still waiting for them to investigate and process it. If you have not sent the numbers, please call itunes and get the cards cancelled/deactivated and then call CVS to give them the card numbers and process the refund. We went to the police dept and they asked us to flag my SSN so that they cannot use it for further fraud. Horrible experience...

You can find out how to protect your personal information at IdentityTheft.gov. You can report identity theft, or get tips on how to place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports.

YESTERDAY I JUST RECEIVED A CALL FROM A CASH ADVANCE GUY STATING I WAS APROVED FOR A LOAN 3500 ..FROM AMARILLO TX KEVIN,AKA DAVID WHO KNOWS BUT HE SUGGESTED I PUT 150$ ON AN I-TUNES CARD AND CALL HIM BACK AND GIVE HIM CODE NUMBER ON BACK NOF CARD ...AND I MEAN THIS GUY IS BOLD KEEPS CALLING ME TO SEE IF IVE LEFT I TOLD HIM HE WAS A SAM AND NEVER TO CALL ME AGAIN I HUNG UP BUT HE HAD ALL MY INFO MY BANK INFO AND ALL THAT 806-680-3006..BEAWARE......

This foreigner barley can speak english ,called my co worker just now at work she would get 12k, then offered 13k, if she would buy an itunes card, cause banks only allowed to put so much grant money in the bank for her school. First duh buy an itunes card to get 13k.

Microsoft will never call one of their customers

They took my electric bill money ,,now sitting in dark,,even pleaded with guy to make sure it wasn't scam ,,now broke no lights, and no family

My disabled son was scammed this weekend. A very slick person impersonated HP and talked my son out of $1000 in iTunes gift cards. He has finally realized that he was scammed. We have a phone number that they called from and an email from them. Is there anything we can do to help catch these thieves (or recover any of the money)?

You could contact Apple Customer Support. They may be able to help you get a refund from the retail card seller when funds are still on the cards. Apple Customer Support may ask you to provide a police report and other documents, like a receipt for the cards. Apple may not make refunds directly, but may refer you back to the retailer, and work to contact the retailer about a refund.

Please report your experience to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The details you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

 

Just received a call from washing dc 202 798 3209 offering me 9200 federal student grant for a 250 Apple iTunes card I had to purchase first I told him this was a scam and stop calling me

This just happened to me with a DC area code (2028272170) talking about tax fraud and arrest warrants.. I walked out of my house, on my way to the Walgreens a 30 min bus ride and I had to stay on the line with the person, and then just in case I looked up iTunes tax fraud scams and this was the first Google result. Thank GOD I saw this otherwise I would've been down almost $600. The lady kept asking if the bus was coming and I was like in 20 min so you just gotta deal with me. So I start asking her stupid questions until I finally just hang up, after 30 minutes of "waiting for the bus." They called back twice after but I just ignored it. So glad I saw this!!!

I got the same area code call from washington DC about a $9,000 grant.

They just got me for 200.00 on a iTunes gift card. I got denied a bunch of loans too and then they called and said they will wire transfer me a loan. Unfortunately I fell for it!
Here are the numbers they called me from 9039609500,9133707479,8019947832,9546746044.
These people need to be stopped!!!

7576566266 virgina says name steve evans from irs...had me put 490 on itune gift card...threaten me about police. I have contacted the irs as i have a payment arrangement now set up through them. Be aware people they are very agressive

Please be aware of David Jones from Personal Landing 914 930-4480 I was scam with the Apple I Tune card 4 different times with this man and still didn't receive the money.

Usa payday wanted me to send 500 to them the guy called me his name twice so fig id c what i cld get got him offer to pay my creditcard off then he wanted me to send more after it cleared lol ya rt thanks 4 the 507.50$ same guy called at 1030at night so after i told him i knew what he was doing he threatened me with cops lol he paid it had nothing to do with a loan havent herd anything cence thanks 4 the bonus so turn it ard and pay close attention to everyword they say

I've gotten scammed on a tuesday of Sept 6 about me receiving a so called $9,000 grant. I've should of know better when it came to that grant money shouldn't NEED money to be given when it the grant is FREE. But since I was so desperate at that time and not thinking; ended up using the itunes gift card (which I never used or ever heard that I had to even register to get a grant which by far a false) while following the directions on the phone the so called lady was giving me. I proceeded to put $200 on the gift card, scratched off the back and read them the code and I also gave them my banking info when one of these (bleep) told me while I was at Walmart "there are 15 people ahead of you" for this so called funny money grant. So me being a bit flustered and telling that (beep) that I drove over here for nothing and he said "do you want it in cash or direct deposit?" which I told this other (beep) I wanted to do it in cash but since I was given the run around I decided to do it in direct deposit. I remember waiting for 15 to 27 minutes because prior to that the guy wanted me to hand over $750 then he opened his big mouth again and said "can you make a $900 payment" getting impatient with me. I yelled back at him with frustration saying "dude, I'm already broke, I don't have that kind of money to give" at that time he was pushing it. He then says "no worries, sir. Nothing to get impatient over this" (What? @#!*&%) So I ask him can you put the money back into my account from the itunes gift card (that I never use anyway) so I that's when we fast forward to the part of me waiting for the past 15 to 27 minutes. I answer with a "Hello?" and the (beep) responded with "Hello...Hello, Matt" so I say under my breathe, "What?Matt?" so I respond back saying my actual name...the @#$*!&# hangs up on me. I call that number back immediately...disconnected line! Ain't that a (BEEP) lol Sorry for all the swearing. I had to get this off my chest. Another lesson learned in my book.

You can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 (you may have to spend some time on hold). Tell them what happened and ask if they can disable the card. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. And when you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

Oh, I already did on that same day of Sept 6th. On Sept 7, those (Beep) called me back twice!!! I called that number back to curse them out. Come to find out the FTC came through because I heard an automated message saying "This call is a suspicious scam calling in on this line" or something like that. I'm just paraphrasing.

My father just fell victim to one these I tunes scams using fake lawyers, a fake receptionist, and a number that they said was from Connecticut but the area code was from British Columbia (604 area code) I was able to convince him that he was has. What angers me the most is that he has trouble moving around, is 85, and was conned to go out to Best Buy and buy on his credit card 5 Itunes gift cards to pay $ 1800 to who told him was his grand nephew. When the person called they would not tell him his name until my father said a name. If you get these calls ask questions and ANYONE asking for transfers using an Itunes gift card is a scammer!!!

Thank GOD today i got my money back and thank uou Apple support and cvs for helping me

Hey Saam. Can I ask how you went through that process? Thank you.

Thank you for asking 1st go to apple store online then i ttune help
Then select the subject other issue then mail the all story in short words tapple support reply me in two days the ask me for recipt of cvs wher i bught iTunes card and picture of my cards front and back and police report number and i send them after 1 week they reply me that contact cvs with apple cose no and i contact with cvs and they refun my mony in my bank account after 10 days

My roommate was a potential victim but had the confidence in me the hardened skeptic to let me talk to the scammers. $9000.00 in federal grant for the small sum of $200.00 on an iTunes card. The scammers was good. I asked to take a few minutes to talk to my roommate about loaning him the money. I then did 300 seconds of research and found this site. We did call the scammers back and I scammed him. I told him that my roommate got me involved because I worked with the District Attorneys office as a consultant in the scams department. That I was opening an investigation into this scammer. He started stuttering and making up things. Hopefully I put enough fear into this one to at least slow him down

It's actually common for scammers advertising something like that nowadays. Though it can't be tolerated immediately as this is already everywhere on the internet.

I'm glad that I went through this post.
I just reported it to FTC and hope the government take necessary actions to prevent such issues in the future.

It happened to me today and lost $3000 in itunes gift card scam. I am very sad that I tricked into this. They know all the information about me like where I am living , immigrant status etc. They tricked me by posing as an IRS officer. I totally understand that I mad a foolish mistake. I am not able to get Apple such a reputed comapny cant freeze those transactions. In the end its Itunes card, how can they biy and use the digital content in just 10-15 mins of buying the card. Apple must have some way to look into where those codes are used and what digital content someone bought. I am sad about losing hard earned money but more sad about how this money will be used for wrong things. I request FTC department to atleast ask apple to trace the gift card usage and transactions. Its a big fault on their side.

If you give someone the codes from an iTunes card, he takes control of the value on the card. He can use it or sell it. After someone redeems the codes, you can't get your money back.

You can reach Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273.

Please report what happened to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will  go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I put a complaint in police department and also FTC. I know it's a mistake but please try to stop these high denomination card. No one will buy the card with such high denomination for normal use or gift. Atleast educate or put warning in stores to stop this. I don't know how can they redeem so fast. Most probably they have activated the card and attach to apple id. Is it not possible to freeze that Apple Id and if someone ask to activate it again then ask questions from where they got it ? I know I was out of my mind when it happened. Please help if Apple can atleast refund partially the profit they are making.

On Thursday I got scam from the IRS they made me buy some iTunes cards 19 of them $500 and $100 each I gave them $3500. Is there anyway to get my money back from Apple store

You can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 (you may have to spend some time on hold). Tell them what happened and ask if they can disable the card. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. And when you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

I am very heated; these scammers got me today for $8900. Threatened to have me arrested if I didn't settle a litigation ASAP. Being a decent citizen; I fell for their gimmick and went to several stores and purchased multiple Itune Cards;they kept me on the phone and didn't allow to text or speak with anyone; so I didn't have time to check anything online relating to scamming. I am very upset

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