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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


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.

The same thing just happened to me today they just took $1000 from me wish i knew

I got scammed today into buying iTunes gift cards. I believed I was getting a small loan and all I had to do was buy 2 iTunes gift cards, call the scratch off numbers into them by phone, and then they would reimburse me for the 100.00 I spent as well as give me the loan amount by Moneygram I needed at a local store. When I went to the customer service desk at Walmart, after buying the 2 iTunes cards and calling the numbers on the back in, I found out I was scammed. The 100.00 is gone, and I will never see it. The loan was for 1500.00 to cover my rent I have not paid this month and car repair work.

I just recently had an idiot try to scam me with the itune gift card payment.claimed he was a bank offering me a payday loan but first i had to give them a deposit of 500.00 dollars to be approved for a 1500.00 loan. I was told to pay with an itune card so it can be easily refunded back to....yeah.....right. hung the phone up on him....oh b.t.w. he had a very heavy indian accent.

What I don't understand is what they do with the gift cards after they get them. You can only by so much with iTunes gift cards.

They can buy iPhones, iPads, macbooks, all worth thousands of dollars and sell them as new for 95% of retail value. Apple products keep their value. They aren't using them to buy apps and download songs!

No, you can't buy devices with iTunes cards.

You can use iTunes cards in the iTunes store, App store or iBooks store.

I was almost scammed. I bought cards totaling $400 but figured it out and redeemed the card on iTunes website. Is there any way I can receive the money on these. I am retired and they told me I had a grant. Which sounded good but too good do I beat them to the cards. If I came be helped please let me know.

How do they turn the itunes gift cards into cash for themselves? Do they buy computers from the apple store?

Computers, Phones and probably any other electronics they can afford on their cards. Unless they take them and sell for profit. I honestly don't know what they use them for.

Boy wished I had read this before hand, lost 1200 in iTunes cards, a guy who was my Microsoft tech rang and told me that my computer had to be updated silly me let him in my computer, then once fixed asked for 600 in iTunes cards as was going to apple for the program he put on. I got the wrong cards first off as got from a normal store when he told me to get from Target. so lost more money, then told me that will get back money from other company that couldn't keep my computer updated, told me that FedEx had chqs when check up with them told me couldn't find any thing with my name on it and the ref no he gave was wrong. then tech rang back today and asked for another 400 in iTunes cards for taxes for the chqs coming into the country, when I starting asking questions he just told me that I can pay 300 until the chq turn up then pay another 100. as if...I don't earn a lot so need guys like this to scam me.

seems like this is also happening a lot on dating sites, but when I encounter someone with poor english, they are usually from Cinncinati but on assignment as a sniper.

Has anyone heard of someone advertising to hire data entry from home $20.00. They give you a cash advance to buy office supplies and equipment needed. They want you to buy itunes cards to give them numbers for items needed to be purchased. Any insight would help. Thanks

I just now encountered this person named terese kemblet that is asking me 2 do this same thing. Did u get scammed?

i got the same call today. what happened after?

I was a victim of an IRS phone scam yesterday afternoon. For three hours, the scammer had me go around downtown Boston and purchase iTunes gift cards, worth a total of $2,150. She told me I had made suspicious transactions that the IRS was not aware of. Then she threatened me and said if I don't pay them this 'deposit', I will be arrested and go to court. At first she told me to deposit the money to a bank that wasn't even located in MA. Then she asked me if there was a local Walgreens nearby, and I told her there was. Once she made sure I agreed to pay the deposit, she kept reassuring me that she would help me as long as I did what I was told. I was also instructed not to call or message anyone while I was on the phone with her. She also told me I was being recorded so I had to be careful of what I would say.

I went to two different Walgreens, a local grocery store, and a GameStop until I bought hundreds of gift cards worth the specified amount. I spent hours scratching off the cards one by one and reading the individual codes to her. Also, as I was buying the cards, she told me to buy a portable phone charger so I would make sure my phone was charged the whole time we were on the phone.

By the end of the phone call, she thanked me and said an officer will come and pick up the cards and I'll be able to sign the papers as they investigate my file. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized it was a scam. What a shameful way to trick someone into giving you money. I was emotional, vulnerable, and extremely scared, and I hope nobody else will go through what I went through. Please learn from this and don't be a fraud victim.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Unfortunately, we cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments. Please report your experience at

I started talking to a nice looking man on a dating app. He said he was Air Force or Marines on a special mission deployed in Africa. We talked for months, but he was making little mistakes (like improper English, tried to confused me about his military status, his father died of natural causes but he couldn't tell me what those were, etc.) that I picked up on.
In the last few days, he said he was in trouble with him commanding officer because he had a cellphone and access to the internet so the commanding officer was black mailing him for $500 worth in iTunes gift cards. This was all very suspicious to me, but I played along and said I would send him a $100 gift card. He became very pushy and then kept asking me about the gift card saying the commanding officer was making his life hell. He said he gave his life savings for his niece, who was dying of cancer so he had no money. And he lost contact with any of his family and friends since being deployed so he has no one to ask for money other than me.
Conveniently since I told him I couldn't come up with the money, he has ceased contacting me. What a scam!
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I met him on the app: Coffee Meets Bagel. He is a ripped looking guy who sends a lot of weight lifting pics, and goes by the name of David Mcgarvey.

I have received many calls from a 206-596-0017 and numerous texts from a 65720 stating loan application has been approved and they constantly argue stating they are in Washington D.C. and working closely with Apple and you will receive the loan amount plus the cost of your I tunes card without it affecting your loan payment dont fall for this crap its unbelievable how persistent these crooks are!

Googled Facebook contact number. Got an offical looking site (818-900-9948) called and a Indian sounding guy said my FB account had been hacked and needed a Apple Key" to track track hacker and protect my account from being hacked. Said FB was trying to shut down these hackers and I would get money returned. After purchasing $250 worth of I-tune cards to get the "Apple Key" there was no more contact,line busy... He sounded very profesional and knowledgeable about FB and I was sure the original problem was being resolved. Stoopid me!!! The google had 6 or 7 different contacts for in the hell do you know your actually dealing with who you think you are when they can post using major corporations names....cant trust anything on the Interweb, First time I've ever been scammed and I innisuated the contact!!! People BEWARE..... thinking and hoping that I havent helped fund a terrorist group....

Hello , please I bought an iTunes card from someone through the internet who sells gift card and I redeemed it. On my next purchase , iTunes told me my purchase cannot be completed. I suspect the gift card was scammed one...Please what should I do ??

Just got me for $2800 in itunes cards how is itunes allowing this what a scam.

My son just got scammed yesterday ...$10,000 Grant is waiting for him...,if he sends $2,800 , for he Max 3 credit cards and , today he supposed to receive the grand , deposit in his bank account... instead They asked for$1,500 more... I'm sorry for him... but we'll get over it...all $$ is gone..

Just wondering if anyone else was scammed in the I tunes card scame? The Hacker gets your home # and contacts claiming to be a Windows or an I T Support from other company's because our Computer is performing poorly. Wanting to set up a Team viewer and rescue it. Well, using I tunes cards. The Western Union too for wiring money to a friend Supposedly??? Giving you an Arab Name to send it to which is out of the County. Even considering using your Pay pal acct. to Extort you as well. In this particular case they said they were from South Africa. He claimed he was a Mike Thomas. They lock you Computer giving you a 4 digit code of four numbers that allows you on a few days but, likely monitoring your activity. Hoping you might purchase something online in order to seek your Banking info or Credit Card # as well. A very likely associate of theirs contacts you awhile later and wants to help your recover your lost money using I tunes cards too, a min. Amount of $2000 being the least able to be refunded. The claim is they can catch them by putting I tune card numbers on your computer to track them when taking the money off the cards. I voiced saying that I would need a Certified Madallion Check with a Watermark on it Overnighted to me by a currier not putting it in my Bank acct. by them. The likelihood of them draining my acct. if giving access to it. She even claimed she would give me an extra $200. for my trouble... Some nerve and suspicious claim.

I met a man on POF who said he was living in Albany, NY but had just gotten a contract for bridge and roads in Istanbul, Turkey. According to him, he just arrived yesterday and was needing me to send him itune cards so his phone would continue working so he could talk to me. he told me there was no Wal Mart stores in Istanbul so he couldn't purchase the itune cards in Turkey and wants me to send him the numbers off of them. I googled it and Istanbul does have large Wal Mart stores. When I told him that he said well you know I came here to work and the stores are too far for me to go myself so you go to your store an send me the numbers. That does not sound right to me. Is htis a scam?

That's a scam! You can't use an iTunes card for a cell phone. Good for you for checking out his story, and not doing what he asked.

If you buy an iTunes card and tell him the numbers, he gets the value of the card and you've lost money. The story about being from the US and being overseas for work, and needing money or a phone or help with bills is a typical scammer's pitch.

I just got scammed right now. They made me purchased iTunes cards for the amount of two $15 each. $30 altogether. I want my money back and justice.

I accepted a friend request on Facebook, moved to email chat and after a few weeks asking me to buy an iTunes gift card for him.

Telling me he loves me, wants to be with me for life etc... It's the same pattern that I've read over the internet.

Anyway, I'm playing him along but he's going to get his surprise when my answer is NO Haha

I googled for Facebook customer service to ask about some facebook app issues/ The number I got online is 8502908367. I guy answered my call immediately, apparently from India. I told him I have such problem with FB that I can't Marketplace Icon. He asked for my FB ID, I provided him with that. He ask me to hold for a bit. he came back to tell " Some body is using your FB account, your FB is hacked" he told me hacker is all over the places he named some random states, and said there are also some foreign IP addresses that they can trace. long short story short. he asked for iTunes gift cards 50$ to be able to go through iTune services and block all the hackers IP address that way I protect my phone and my computer too. he said he can wait on the phone for me to get to the store and come back with two iTunes cards 50$ each. I hang up, and called again I got hold of different guy, he told me the same story but he said this iTune money will be refundable to me via any method of payment I want even through Western Union or Moneygarm. That phrase was the wake up call for me this a big scam. I googled "iTunes cards scam" I found it is big network of very professional scammer.
Please be aware and pay attention.

this 202# Called Me & Said I Was Appoved For $9,700

I was scammed of $785. They sent me a fake check and asked me to send them 2 iTunes gift cards,and then send the rest through moneygram. I did. Needless to say I did not receive a loan and I'm short of 785 bucks. I questioned it at first then when they said it won't be your money. We will make a deposit of 785 I bought it.

this woman wants me to send her an iTunes card she wants a $100 one i live in Canada she's stuck in Africa & says she needs it for food & her mother is backing up her story I tried to look her & her mother up through google but nothing came up scammer wise could she & her mother be a scammer & if so are they the same person

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books. If you send someone an iTunes card or tell them the code from the back of a card, they get the value of the card immediately, and you can't get it back.

Met someone on-line. 4 days of getting to know one another. 5 day I was having some medical problems. He phone was out of minutes and he really wanted to talk to me. Asked me to purchase an I-Tune gift card so he could reactivate his phone. I said NO 2x he kept persisting. NO final time. I said no you are scamming me. I out of here. He told me off. He said he was so wealthy and I was a fool for breaking it off...we is so rich buy your own minutes. I was aware to cut all ties if anyone asks for money.

I cannot understand why these monsters keep attacking me for this Govt. fraud of $9000 over ten times a day. I do not have anything and they prey on people who have been frauded like me,because I have nothing thanks to their sneaky stunts of months of fraud. I vannot feed my daughter, purchase her schoolCLOTHES AND NEEDED SUPPLIES. I CANNOT EVEN GET TO Kentucky TO BE WITH MY AILING MOTHER AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN ALONG WITH TWO GROWN CHILDREN WHO I NEED AND NEED ME. I HAVE SIBLINGS THAT I HAVE NOT GOT TO SEE FOR YEARS. HELP ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION........

I'm 48 yrs old and just got scammed by someone claiming to be from Microsoft. They said my computer has some problems and they could fix it for $100 iTunes card. Like an idiot I went and got the card and gave them the code numbers. I should have done some research or asked someone if this was normal. Being disabled and on limited income this really hurts.

I accepted a facebook request never do unless I know you,well a few days after I accepted he messeged me and started tell me he was so in love with me blah blah .I work at a place where there is western union so I know about all the scams out there ,I tell people they are getting scamed ,I told a friend of mine who is a police officer about it and at that moment this guy asked me for 2 itune gift cards for 20 dollars each .I busted out laughing because my copfriend told me talk to him as long as he doesn't ask for anything your ok.Anyways I told him hell no im not giving you anything ,I work at a place where this stuff happens all the time ,but this guy is persistent his name is Rupp Thomas you girls be careful with this guy don't ever accept a friend request unless you know the person.Do not I repeat buy anything for anyone your worth more than that ,Unless yo u meet face to face they are not worth it.

I was scared, thought I was dealing with IRS and went brain dead. So depressed I fell for this. How can a scammer get cash from iTunes gift cards. I lost $500 however I have 15 - $100 gift cards I need to donate and take off my taxes or get the cash the way the scammers do it. I have reported it and can't overcome the depression of being stupid. All the signs were there. Unfortunately, it was the perfect storm. I feel soooo stupid!

You may want to contact Apple support at 1-800-275-2273 or go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff to see if you there are options for the gift cards you purchased.

I sometimes call tech support scammers on purpose to waste their time. Seems a bunch of them are asking for itunes cards. I wish apple had a generator for cards, but instead of generating actual card information, it generated numbers that, if used, will flag the company so they can be targeted.

I got scam out of $3000, did anyone get their money back?? Please help. My bank already denied the claim and apple is no help.

I was also scammed on 950$. M new in US. I thought it is real. They pushed me to buy itunes cards n took its pin numbers. Now m short of money. I have proof of it.
Please help me.

Dating Services have a lot of scammers that try to get you to buy them ITunes cards. Fake Pictures of Pretty young girls in there 30, Wink, message Old guys telling them age is just a number... blah blah blah. after several text back and forth you get hit. They are away from home and bored and want to watch a movie.... Terrible people out there.


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