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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

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

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


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

Any luck in getting at least partial refund ? Atleast apple can refund some partial amount out of it's profit.

I saw a post from retailer that says there are signs posted well if CVS posts them I don't know where that would be

an not only one but two clerks one being a manager said nothing of possible scam.

I have not used the card and luckily caught what was going on and reported to eBay. I was told there was no way to get my money refunded but I have hope now that I see at least 2 others have. I will contact police and CVS and see if I can get money back. I'm not into technical stuff such as internet and know nothing about online purchasing but at my husbands request I bought this card for vehicle purchase and even as I was buying the card I mentioned to the clerk I've never bought iTunes cards before as I don't know what can be purchased with them. I got an education and thankfully scammer got nothing no personal info or card info. She asked for 3 $500 cards luckily I only purchased one and did not scratch off the back. Apple really should step up for reimbursement or stop selling this particular card that I've found no one would want even as a gift.

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

I submitted a complaint. I didn't get any email after that. Just want to know if I should expect anything. The email says will get update by 72 hours on the case.

On this Tuesday of 27th September 2016, I got scam from 911 and the uscis number they made me buy iTunes gift cards 6 of $500 each I gave them $3000. 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. He warned me, if I didn't pay the would put a warrant out for my arrest immediately. I got frightened and do not allowed to get help from others/ donot cut the call even. If I contacted anyone / cut the call, they will do immediate action. I purchased 6 gift cards for $3000.00 each of $500. Then they instructed to scratch off the numbers and tell him. Is there anyway to get my money back from Apple store.
I have contacted iTune Support and informed as well about this scam incident and store also. Can any one help me how I get this money refund.

After you tell someone the code from the back of the iTunes card, he takes control of the card. He controls what happens. After the value is gone from the cards, there is no value for iTunes to give you a refund.

Please report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses to investigate scams.

On Tuesday, 27th September 2016, I got scam call from 911 - US Police department (Time 10.45 AM) and USCIS US Immigration office - 800 375 5283 (Time 10.48AM). And local police department - 972 424 5678 (Time 11.42 AM), and Till 2.02 PM. I believed they were really calling from Police department and US Immigration office. They were cunningly convinced me this.

911 the person: He was introduced himself from Police department said: I was going to be taken to court and arrested. And he connected with USCIS - 800 375 5283 the person joins (introduced as a USCIS immigration officer) with USCIS number and was asked me to type in google www. uscis. gov on the bottom read: National Customer Service Center : 1-800-375-5283. He was convinced me he really calling from USCIS immigration office.

I have to pay $3000.00 due to not updating the details in security broad office. I was told to go buy ITUNES gift cards. $3000 and Then instructed to scratch off the numbers and tell him. He warned me, if I didn't pay the would put a warrant out for my arrest immediately. I got frightened and do not allowed to get help from others/ donot cut the call even. If I contacted anyone / cut the call, they will do immediate action.

I purchased 6 gift cards for $3000.00 each of $500. from the store which they suggested to the following address: #2122 - 2930 PRESTON ROAD SUITE 700, BETWEEN GAYLORD PKWY & HWY 121 FRISCO, TX 75034. 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 and alone and helpless situations. Then they instructed to come out from the store and to scratched the numbers and tell him. After that they told me to wait for 10 minutes over phone and one person introduced himself as attorney the request is rejected due to some other reason and your identity now in blacklist. So everything will clearout then again you have to pay $2500.00. And do the same process. The moment my phone charge went down, then got switched off. I tried to recharge my mobile, and then they again called and asked about the same matters.

I said, I need to talk to my friends and get the money from them. After that they didnt called me.

I have contacted Apple representative ; I shared all 6 iTunes gift cards PIN number to her to BLOCK/CANCEL/DISABLE of these cards. But she didnt do anything with this call support. Next day I again called Apple iTune Billing department and stated above same. But there was no timely help I also contacted Office Depot: no help.

Apple and office depot are not at all supportive and don't know why they can't block the account who used the card. I think, Apple and office depot are adjusting to sell their product that may be the reason not providing the timely help. To resolve the problem, I would appreciate your help to get back my money refund from office depot. I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem. I have reported to FTC at But they are saying : you can submit this receipts in TAX department. I dont have any hope now. Even complaint to anywhere also no hope. The strange things are scammers always enjoy with this strongly. Apple and Office depot seems more supportive for scammers. This is what I am feeling. The scammers always targeting who all are very new to USA and innocents.

I am sorry this happened to you.

If you tell someone the code from the back of an iTunes card, he takes control of the card. He controls what happens to the value. He might use it right away, or quickly sell the code to someone.

After he uses the value from the cards, there is no value left for iTunes to refund to you. If he already used the value, it does not help for Apple to block or disable the cards.

Thank you for reporting this to the FTC. The information you give us will help law enforcement agencies do investigations. You could contact the corporate headquarters for Office Depot and tell them what happened and ask for help. Look online for a contact name and number for the corporate offices of Home Depot.

I don't know what's going on here. I was scammed some days ago and bought card worth $3000 in Office Depot and provided them feedback that they should put some warning in the gift card section. It happened in Plano only and now again you faced the same issue. Why the heck they can't guide the customers by just sending emails to all the stores that whoever buy such high denominations should be given some hint. This is ridiculous. We should come forward and fight for this.

I also faced the same thing 10 days back. No hope of getting money back. It happened to me in Office Depot. This scam is so common and so many innocent people are targeted. There is no measures taken so that stores can atleast hint about the scam when people are buying cards with huge amount.
Apple is not at all supportive and don't know why they can't block the account who used the card. We have all the receipts and proofs. Atleast they can return us the partial amount. Anyways I don't have any hope now. I think we all should come forward and do something about this.

I'm sorry this happened. You can help law enforcement by reporting it to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Please don't just reply with the same comment again and again. If you want to do something then please instruct all the stores to guide customers. In the same stores it's happening again and again. How difficult is to put some warning on the gift card section ? How difficult to stop apple itunes card of such a high denomination $500 ? Same thing is happening in Office Depot again and again , why can't they send instructions to Store Manager ?

Bridget, Can I go to the police, and can I make a report to the FBI. Please respond. I will try to get in contact with the State General Attorney.

Who do I contact RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I am being SCAMMED by someone from Accra Ghana. He is planning to call me when I am available, I have been making excuses and I text him. I cannot call him back it looks like he is using calling cards to call me. and I want them caught because they scammed me 55K and is still asking for more money, I maxed out on my credit cards, he put some money on two cards but he want me to go to the Apple store to buy Apple phones and computers total $9ooo.00 and send it to them. This person I am not sure if he's is using someone ID from the Barclays Bank who is the Exe. Director. SO PLEASE I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP BECAUSE I AM BEHIND ON BILLS AND MORTGAGE PAYMENT ABOUT TO LOSE MY HOME, I AM ALONE I LOST MY HUSBAND OF 30 YEARS AND ALL MY MONEY AND ALMOST EVERYTHING, SO SOMEONE PLEASE. I BEG OF YOU FOR HELP NOW.

You can block a person on your phone and email, and on your social media. If you used a wire transfer service you can call them and report fraud. Call MoneyGram at 1‑800‑926‑9400 (or for Spanish: 1‑800‑955‑7777) and the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492.

If you gave your bank or credit card account number to a scammer, he can take your money. Contact your bank and credit card company and ask how to protect your money.

If you're an older person, you can go to to see if you can get help paying bills. Or, go to to get connected to agencies in your community that help people with housing and other issues.

I've been speaking to a man who is saying he is in love with me and that he's working in Instanbul and will be home by December. Claims he's coming home to the states to start a life with me he asked me tonight to buy him a iTunes card in order to add more minutes to his phone. This is the first red flag. Should I be concerned? Or does this seem legit?

If someone you never met asks you for an iTunes card, it's probably a scam. Scammers look for people on dating sites, and pretend to start a relationship, then start asking for money or iTunes cards, or bank account information.

iTunes cards don't add minutes to a phone. The only place to use an iTunes card is for online music, books or apps.

Scammers called my parents today - said my son (grandson)in car accident in other country. Directed parents to get iTunes gift cards for many $1000. Total scam. If you get the call. Hang up.

So I'm in the store right now and for the past 30mins they have been convincing me and swearing by their daughter and Jesus Christ that this is what it is. I'm 24 but not naive. I told them I'd call them back, but I new something wasn't right about the whole thing so I started doing a quick research. Thank God I did what I did. I just saved myself $175.... God is good

I'm glad you did t. I was so dumb that I actually fell for an IRS scam. We argued for 3 hours and I knew something wasn't right but I kept going out of fear.

Was called yesterday to buy meds.sounded good had to make multiple iTunes wantsn600.00 more for shipping insurance. Im out 750.00 so far still dealing with him trying to get money back. What do i do?

If you tell someone the code from the back of an iTunes card, they can take the value immediately. You can't get a refund from the store that sold you the iTunes card.

If anyone tells you to pay for things with an Amazon gift card, or PayPal or with a reloadable card like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, it's probably a scam. The Government doesn't use that kind of payment.

I was contacted the day before yesterday this guy told me a number to call to get a 7,000 dollar grant when the lady answered the phone she said you pay nothing this isnt a scam well she continued to go forth with what she was instructing me on what to do, i listened didnt say very much about it but i was thinking in the back of my mind if i got a grant wow im excited to know i never applied for one so how could i possibly get this grant of 7,000 so after she told me to put 145.00 on an i-tune card im like sure why not she's saying she will give me 7,145.00 back so i wont be without right? well then i got even more curious and asked cvs if i didnt use the card can i return it, sadly the lady said no nothing about people being scammed at all well turn around i called apple to see if they would pay it back to me since i would not use it they said no so i thought long and hard for another moment and let it go, this morning the lady called me back and she didnt like her answer of well mama im not going to do this please stop scamming other people to make your holidays for your children or your bank account look great! the number she called me from is ( 844 770-2110 )

I received a call from
2357217269 claiming I had been randomly selected for not having filed for bankruptcy as well as paying my bills on time.The money would go to nothing but school or to start a small business. It's a thing that happened because of obama's term or whatever. I had to call 2064726026 and give them some code mk311. After about 10 mintues they asked me to buy an itunes card and put $250 on it that would be refunded. I did not do any of it but these phone numbers are out there just to help another person.

i got a call from 202-688-7306 telling i was going to get 9,000 just needed to buy two $100 and one $50 itune card to my 9,000.....

I've gotten the federal grant calls AND the IRS there no way to block their numbers?

I went online to find a personal loan. A company called me saying I was approved for up to $5000. I believed it was a legit company so I gave 5hem my bank information. They deposited money in my account. Now they want me to buy itune cards so they can get their money back. They said after I do this then they will loan my the money I needed. My bank has froze my account what am I supposed to do now?

Go to your bank and complain

Big scam.Lost above $12000.Someone called from 911 and told me about my arrest warrant.All are iTunes card target card also they provide an account number to transfer.Please suggest me what will I do.

Call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away. You might have to wait on hold before someone will talk to you.

Tell them what happened. Ask if they can disable the cards you bought. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card. Talk  with their customer service staff at the store.

Please report this to the FTC. The information you give will go into a secure database. The FTC and other law enforcement will use that information for investigations.

itunes card is only for apple product right

Yes, iTunes is only for Apple products. Not for IRS or debts or phone service or any other reasons.

I have a $200 iTunes card i don't need but i want to share it into two so i can give my two son $100 each.. how can i do that ?

I have been scammed by David Russell from the Workman's Comp. I have $1,000 worth of ITune cards. There is 20 @ $50.00 each. I don't know if they are still good or not.

If you gave someone the code from an iTunes card and you think it was a scam, call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away. You may have to spend some time on hold. Tell them what happened. Ask if they can disable the cards.

Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. And if you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

I got scammed on 2/14/17, yes it was Valentine's Day. I got called while I was at my school lab doing work like normal.
Some lady called and said I'd won a one time grant from the federal government for $9,200. They send me to talk to another guy (202-670-8549), Senior Accountant Manager with some federal grant ID# KM979.
I didn't believe her, but I thought this new guy would tell me that she was crazy and there was nothing. I didn't guess that he was in on it too.
He said something about ARRA, financial crisis of 2008/2009, something Obama put into effect to give out relief to families. He gave me a fake name and address, phone number and extension number, said he was calling from Washington D.C.
They made me do iTunes gift cards and buy a confirmation code $200 first, then they wanted me to pay state taxes on the grant, $475, and lastly they wanted a bank transfer fee $568. I gave them a total of $875, after which I told them I literally have no more money that was all I had. They told me I should borrow the money from someone or get a loan and I tried but it was late they said that they're closing soon (it was almost 4pm Pacific time, my time) and would have to call me back tomorrow once I borrowed money. They said they will come in at 10:30am and that would be 7:30am my time.

When I went home everyone told me it was a scam, I cried, I tried to talk to Wells Fargo. They couldn't do anything because it was me who actually bought the cards. I had given them my debit card and address info (thankfully not my full account info since I didn't know it) so I cancelled everything. Waiting on my new card now.

After this happened, I just decided to figure everything was gone. Since they're fake names no one can help me. No point in going to the police. I did file a claim on here though. Hopefully it will help someone in the future.

It just sucks because, I'm a senior college student (age 24) with loans. I'm about to graduate so I was trying to hold onto that money to help me while I look for a job, but now I don't know what I will do. And now I'm in even more debt. I can't believe they did that when I even told them that's all the money I have, these people really are heartless. All I can do is hope that in some way the Universe gets back at them for what they've done to me and many other innocent people.

so sorry about your situation, same thing happened to me but I just stoped after the 200

how do I go about reporting a scam to the FTC? Looking on the site and can't find out exactly where. I have been offered a Lending Club loan for $5500 (I am desperate for the funds), but they want me to purchase a $50 Itunes card and pay a processing fee, then I will get my loan as well as the processing fee back withing 24 hours (regular bank processing). I am reading all of these, would never be thinking about paying someone hundereds of thousands of dollars for a $50 doesn't seem bad. But did any of these people actually get the money??? It seems like some of them did get the funds

If you get targeted by a scam where someone wants you to send money to get money, report it to the FTC at

Today morning, I just received a call from a emergency no 911 and a person claimed that he was from police department and he was having arrest warrant to arrest me immediately from my work premises as they have identified that I have done a fradulent tax submission and got a notification from IRS, and they have asked me that do I need to talk to IRS officer as a last chance. They connected to other person she claimed that she is from IRS office and to avoid the arrest I need to pay $2,986 as a penalty for tax fraud for the years 2016-2017. They have asked my visa status and date of entry in US.
She also said that my license, debit and credit cards already requested to block. she gave me two options 1) go to jail and ask a attoerny to handle the case or 2) outside court settlement of $2,986.
From here onwards She gave me step by step information -
She asked me to go to bank and take all the cash out of that, I told my bank balance to her and she instructed to me to write down a CNF code(??) in case my account got locked and I should inform CNF code to bank official to get the cash. My account worked as normal and I took $1,500 cash from bank. I had a doubt on that time but again I follwed her instructions.
She again conferenced with a police person and police person told I need to pay thru' gift card to IRS to cancel the arrest warrant.

She gave the address and asked me to go to nearest super market (Hannaford), then CVS pharmacy and then Bestbuy and totally I bought I-Tune gift cards for $8,00. (3 * 200 Giftcard + 2 * 100 Giftcard), and I gave her the 16 digit alpha numeric no. She claimed that she was preparing the documents to clear my case, after that I needed to go to nearest IRS office to collect the documents.
Lastly she told that to go to target store and I got doubt on very late moment and I searched web for these scams.

All 3 Hours am in call with the scam person and she called me back immediately whenever call got dropped, she warned that I should not inform any one reg. this and should not use web search or mobile data which will take me to custody. And I should not inform the stores that I am purchasing the I Tunes for IRS payment.

This is a scam. The people who called are not from the IRS or police department. They took your money. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Usually, the scammer will take the value of the iTunes card immediately after you tell them the code. But, you could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 now and explain what happened. Ask Apple to disable the cards. If the scammer did not take the value of the cards, Apple might be able to disable the cards.

You can go to the stores where you bought the cards. Talk to the clerk that sold the cards and tell what happened. Also, please call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 to report this.

Is there a Federal Grants Department in Seattle, WA . How do they select people for grants if you have not proactively applied for a grant. Maybe, they are trying to help you but why the iTunes gift cards. Ouch.

This morning, I got a called from "Department of Homeland Security" 866-347-2423 saying they tracked my IP address on craigslist casual encounters and they will issue an arrest for me. They said they will charge me with conspiracies, cybercrime, and sex offender which I was kind of skeptical about. However, it did scare me a little bit. But my co-work was with me and she knew something was off when that guy said "hold up" twice and called on a different number from Wyoming 307-275-9499. He then threatens me by giving two options. Option A go to jail for 25 years or option B all charges will be drop but you have to pay a fee. So, as scared as crap I was, I chose option B. After I told him, he said you have to pay 1.2k and 27 cents, then I said I only work part time, then he said to pay $800, and after that I said I have to talk to my cousins and boss to help me out. He then said $600. So, I said I don't have the fund yet but once I get it, he will direct to go to the nearest "Walmart" and he will guide me with a reference number. Lastly, my co-worker and I are now very skeptical about it. So I called San Mateo, San Jose, and SF Police Departments. They said it was a scam for sure and there's nothing I have to worried about. So, I was researching online and found out that these people used "Caller ID spoofing" that appear on your phone that make it looks like the department of homeland security or other government agencies but then hung out and used a different phone from a different state? Big red flag there. As convincing they can be by posing as an agent, always double check, and research. Never post anything on craigslist. A lesson to learn. And I am pretty sure once you use "casual encounters" as stupid as I was, you have to click you are 18 years old and almost all the w4m are fake ads because they will spam you with free sign up a credit card for views.

Someone please help me asap, i know one friend who recently got fooled into buying iTunes gift cards worth $6500!!!! It is about to ruin her life, please let me know if anyone can offer any advice about claiming the feaud. email me

If you gave someone the code from an iTunes card and you think it was a scam, call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away.You might have to wait on hold for a bit.

Tell Apple what happened. 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 if you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

Can they do any more damage once they're into your computer other than the $ amount lost on the iTune card purchases?

If you let someone take over your computer, they can install software programs that monitor what you do, or make your computer crash.

This FTC article has tips for getting rid of those malware programs.

is it possible that i can post ads in craigslist if i have an itunecard..

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

If you buy the iTunes card and tell someone the code on the back of the card, they get the value of the iTunes card. You have nothing.


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