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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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someone is calling me to give me money. but first i need to buy an Itunes gift card to give them the code to receive that money through western union. please does someone knows about this game

incorporate Amazon gift vouchers, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, ... Labeled with: family, gift vouchers, faker, IRS, internet dating, installment, trick ... The remarks you post here on the blog don't go into the law authorization database. ..... Just got comparable call, free cash from Western Union in the event that I get ITunes

Hello, I get a message from a user on facebook that I never meet in person and she requested a relationship and after that she asked for an upgrade on her phone using an iPhone gift card when I get the card she asked me to send a picture of the back of the card why she asked that when I texted the numbers and letters of the scratched part she said she needed the pic to as a prove without the pic she can't redeem the card why she asked for that ? She was insistent with the pic so I went to the store and request my money back, they give it to me I just wanna know why people ask for pictures when they have the pin number in text?

So i got scam with the itune gift card what can i do? Do i still have to report to the bank

You can report a scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

This has been an interesting 3 years for me. I've received phone calls from a guy and woman over this time. The first call was suppose to be from Microsoft claiming I was showing my computer in Europe. Told the idiot that Microsoft's only interest with me was to sell me software. That scam has been tried 6 times over the 3 years. They then went to the IRS scam. I never let the call go as far as getting to the amount they would claim I owed. I'd already read stories on news web pages and watched reports on news channels about the scam by the time the 2 people called thee first time. They tried to use a robot calling system with a recording of a guy claiming to be from IRS and I was suppose to call the phone number immediately. I have caller id and if I get phone calls and the caller isn't from my list of friends I don't answer since the numbers are either telemarketers or another scam call. The IRS call went from the initial call then to a notice of police charges the last voicemail that I received claimed to be from A Credit Bureau with is suppose to be the name of the company. The messages are of a man only the man at each calling place has the same voice along with the name of the credit company were dead give aways. In June and July of 2017 I received calls from so called Health Care companies telling me that it was time to renew my plan for next year but if I called them they could save me 200 to 300 dollars. Policy renewals and signups don't open until November. I haven't called back on that one either. They are now using Facebook Messenger. In the past 2 months I received messages from 3 different women names. I accepted each and they immediately replied once I accepted them. All three chats secessions initial chats used the exact same words to get chat time started. They list where they the cities and states that they claim to be from. Usually when someone is asked about the city or state they live in they will talk about practically everything about the area. None of the women would talk about any of it. I even asked about the largest well known city in their state that is within 100 miles of the towns they lived in but they wouldn't even know about those cities. At the same point in chatting which was 3 days for each They hit me with them being deeply in love with me. Their ages were from 30 to 37 years old. From my profile anyone on my friends list know that I'm in my mid 60s. Their talk about how much in love they are with went on for about 4 days when they asked if I would be able to buy them a $50 dollar ITunes card. All three asked for the same $50 dollar ITunes card. I told the first one that I could get a digital ITunes card witch would be fast because I could order it online and they could get the code within 24 hours. They said NO to that, they wanted the actual card. They wanted for me to take a photo of the card showing the activation code. I even asked it maybe a money gram or a money card would so they could get cash but they wouldn't have any of that. They only want the ITunes card. I also saw and read news stories about Terrorist groups like ISIS get their money from people buying ITunes cards and giving the activation number code to someone requesting the information. That way the person who buys the card know they did and gave it to someone else as a gift so there won't be any follow up questions or claims of fraud. The purchaser of the card might get a visit from a federal investigator if the numbers from a card is traced back to point of purchase but the terrorists get off without incident. This last "woman" who has been in touch with me asked for my phone number so we could text. We exchanged numbers and she sent me a text message. I don't have a smart phone so when I type a message I have the hit a number key the search for the actual letter. I told the "woman" using Facebook would be faster for me since she could send 3 messages to one of mine. We chatted for a few days when she also asked if I would buy her a $50 dollar ITunes card. I figures she was anther part of the scam so I said sure but I couldn't do anything until September when I get paid next. Since I had a good phone number I did one of the people search sites that traces a person's name from the phone number. It took 3 days for me to get my report. The first name was the same American first name but the last name was Asian. The report showed the address along with up to 10 addresses that was associated with the owner's name. In this case there are 2 in Los Angeles, California and 5 addresses in Hawaii. It even shows the apt number. I copied information about the name and alias to the name, addresses for the person along with the information that the person is a male. I then pasted it to a message to this "woman" and waited. She demanded for me to tell her where I got the information. She then came up with an excuse about how she was with the guy but ended the relationship and he's has been stalking her and wants his phone back. She still hasn't explained why her first name was the owner of the phone number. I wrote an email a few days later and told "her" the story about "her" being the 3rd "woman" who contacted me in Facebook with the same HI message and that every word that she sent back to me was the exact same words used by the first two "women". I then talked about each of them asking me for a $50 ITunes card along with my suspicions about the cards use to fund Terrorism and ISIS. She pushed me to tell her the name of my band even though I told her we were strangers. I finally did a search for bank names from around my town then chose one from a different town and not my bank. I also told her that it was strange that all three "women" fell in love with me even though I told them my profile photo wasn't me. My photo is Grandpa from Dukes of Hazard. I wrote about the same answers I received from all 3 "women" like they were scripts. I then got into the ITunes cards and financing terrorism and ISIS. On my main Facebook profile I removed information like my birth date and I only have photos of friends from my friends list. I never talk about detail information about my family. Facebook provides crooks with all of the information they need to get to defraud. I give Facebook the least information I can. Posts and news stories in Facebook has more than enough viruses that lock your explorer browser as it is. So many that I learned how to get past them. My advise is if you get a message from someone you don't know and the only information that is provided by the name is "HI", click refuse or delete and move on. The scam lasts for 2 weeks or until they get the card then the name is gone then replaced by a new name.

Nice to meet you, two weeks ago I was scammed with three people telling me to i was qualified to recieve a federal fund of $9000 and for activation you have to purchase $50 itune card of 5 and a total $250. After you have sent this cards you will be provided with the code to collect your money from NY federal refund bank. And they gave me a phone number to call the bank. After i called him, in order to start your refund you have to pirchase 8 itune card valued of $100 and total $800. You can purchase from walmart store and send us the code we will refund your money all you paid. I send the $250 to the first guy that he was from DC and sespect the second from NY. But I already purchased $400 itune gift cards but i didn't send him. I call to police and told them the detail about the scammer and no one can help me and also i called to one of apple website customer service from google and the man who tried to help me asked me to send all the nembers of itune card codes i scratched. But i didn't scratched $400 itune gift cards. He forced me to scratch and tell him the codes, i trust him because he is working for customers. After that the apple technical support customer service guy who asked me all the scratched itune gift cards and unscratched once asked me to refuned your money you have to purchase walmart card and fill $650 amount and the refund billing amount $45 and a total of $695.
He gave me the deadline will be on Friday August 1st 2017. After i purchase and fill with the money on walmart card i will tell him the card number again and he will send me back 695*2 of my money. Please how can you help me please because i still suspect the guy from customer service and lose my money again. Please i am one and half year here in usa and that why they cheated me.

Well, chaulk it up to stupidity, they got me for $250. They claimed to be from speedy Cash and my loan was approved. First they claimed my bank wouldn't let them deposit so called my bank and that is true. Then came to I tunes $100.00 to send money Western Union, then it was $150 more because I had to get the insurance because my credit score was too low according to the FTC. I have contacted speedy Cash and they are reporting it also. So lesson learnef

Would you call this a scam if a person ask you to buy an iTune card in order to video chat with you on line 15.00 dollar card and do I have to know what company or service that activates there phone

You can't use an iTunes card for video chat. The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books. 

If you buy an iTunes card and tell someone the numbers from the back of the card, that person gets the value of the card immediately.  You have the plastic card, but it is has no value left.

I have this supposedly female Soldier with a picture wearing Captain's bars. Says she's a staff sergeant stationed in Northern Nigeria as a physical therapist. She insist that I buy her at first $100 iTunes card now she wants a $25 iTunes card so we can be closer. I was on to her from the beginning and have her on the hook now. The way she Converses reminds me of a teenage girl or possibly a boy. I keep putting her off. She wants me to buy the iTunes card and then send her a picture of the numbers. She is not very bright said they sent her over to Nigeria on American Airlines F18. She messed up several other times too. Am I in danger if I keep her on the hook and just let her waste her time?

Not sure where you're at, but i meet these people on kik sites. Still don't know why they do this. Some even tell me they have jobs.

Same thing just happened to me. It's the Mexican cartel. so I'm screwed. He found me on facebook. so becareful. They put 1200 in my account, than began aggressive asking for 1000, and when I couldn't do it, he wanted me to get 10 itune cards. So now I have to watch my back because I don't know what chase did with 1200. I know I can't access it.

i was scammed by a bogus tech support from hp laptop computer i bought it from a regular not from a big retailer and they gave me a phone number i assumed it was hp tech support and boy was i wrong and they scammed for over 950.00 over about 7 months until i finally got intouch with the correct tech support number is hp 866 442 7039 and they told me the same thing so people called them and hold your computer hostage until you go to walmart and buy itune card so beware and carefull!

I had someone try to have me send her an iTunes care. I refused and she kept demanding me to do so. I laughed and blocked her on Facebook.

Its just not cash advance places and irs I was just contacted last night and today by people saying they are from Facebook company and Mark Zuckerberg and how I won 500,000. All I have to do is buy a $100 iTunes card to activate for my pin for the atm card that will be FedEx within 6 to 12 hours. Not falling for that.

My dad just got scammed..someone from Norton popped up on his computer screen, and said something about my dad having a virus on his computer, and they would need to perform a scan. They too asked for payment in iTunes cards. As far as I know they got him for $300 worth of iTunes cards, they are still calling and demanding more money. He broke down and told my mom and I. I’m so mad that I’m going to file every complaint I can regarding this jerk. My dad has had to freeze all of his accounts just in case they try something else to get money. Please be aware oh this scam..my dad is in his 70s, and retired from two government jobs. I never thought he off all people would fall for this. These bottom feeders pray on the elderly.

Got a call about being approved for a loan up to $2000. This person wanted me to purchase an ITUNES card and load $100 in there for verification and send them the code. I was very skeptical. I didn't do it. I've had personal loans approved before but the loan application process wasn't anything like this. Stay away from things like this people.

person reaches out thru Instagram then texts me from two differnt numbers one of which is 952 353 9440 , sends pictures of her scantly dressed body and even some nude photo wanting a itune card sent to her for $100 so she can fix her phone and buy meds for her mom who has long cancer. Sarah Adnerson as she calls her self is on instagram.

I need some help, I need to get a refund to two $200.00 I tune cards, was told needed to get 4 $100.00 but I got the $200.00 instead can you help me.

If you want to return iTunes cards, you could go back to the store where you purchased the cards and ask for a refund.

Got scammed by trusting Dell computer technical support who sent me this so called technician who evidently probably works in India for Dell. My registry with Dell when I bought the computer. Logged on gave all the info and then sent me the wrong factory usb Professional)with no key. This is how they work to get on your computer to steal whatever they can get from your computer. Beware of Dell!!! All these technicians on the Net are from India so if once on your computer you're had. I lost $200 iTunes gift cards that they scammed on my computer...Beware and take care!

I was friended by a beautiful man on facebok. Told me he was a widow from Spain with two little girls. He was a scammer and very good at it. Said he was working for Exxon mobile and needed five thousand dollars. Please, I love you. I will pay you back. He even showed me a bogus bank statement fir 450 thousand Dillard. He promised me a new car when all was said and done. Do not fall gir this. They use phony Spanish names. They then disconnect their phones. Really why not just get a job and be more productive with your time.

I was asked to by an iTunes card, but this man seemed ok, but now I think he could be a scammer I HAVE BEEN CAUGHT BEFORE SENDING A LOT OF MONEY, AND I AM AWARE OF THIS NOW.

I HAVE BEEN TALKING TO THIS, NICE MAN AS I THOUGHT, NOW HE IS WANTING I TUNE CARDS, I WILL DELETE THIS RAT

My friend sort of went through the same thing but I dont think I would consider it a scam. Maybe just to the government..? An"Online love interest" asked him for iTunes gift cards like 1000$ or 2000$ worth and asked that the cards be bought in 100$ intervals. The thing is this person sent him money for it. I dont know how but my friend had his Credit card loaded with money. He kept saying he had to spend the 2000$ credit that he received upon signing up for it, so that it can get loaded up again. Since it was Credit he could not take any money out but he could spend on basically whatever. Someone somehow would keep reloading his credit card back to the 2000$ and would ask for 1200$ of itunes. He then had roughly 800$ to spend everytime on whatever. Well local law enforcement caught on and the local stores stopped selling him iTunes cards. Even the bank called him and threatened with the FBI. I guess it's a fraud getting free credit constantly reloaded ha. But the only victim here is the stinking greedy government that wants to tax everyone for everything..

Hello.I'm Danny,I bought I tune cards for my wife and she went to use them and they say that they are redeemed already.I need to know how to find out who to fix this problem and who to contact about it.

You could report what happened to someone at the store where you bought the cards, or you could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273.

i met these 2 girls on Facebook,and they are asking me to pay 300 dollars,she said the 2 hundered dollars would be for her to get gas in her car to come and get me,and she said the other 100 can be for her friends bus ticket,and she said if i send them 300 dollars in itunes they said they will come and pick me up and take me back to there place for Sex and everything else.Is it a Scam.

I bought a $50 ltunes card for my fiance at Walmart l didnt purchase nothing this was at 3pm came back wondering if it wss ac t ivated it the clerk scanned it said its deactivated when l have the receipt didnt use the card they said l have no money now weteviut if $50 l cant get my money back when l have the receipt the card was never used so how come it was deactivated l just want another card or my money back who do l see about my money how do anyone know the code when it was sealed two weeks prior l got a card thats was on the shelf took it to the cashier he said it was activated lam a victim bought s card that had no funds on it ti me l think walmart shouldnt sell cards if l cant get my money back how do l know there scamming me lam upset how come my card isnt protected how can someone know l purchased it and get my code when it was sealed

You can talk to the customer service staff at that store, or contact call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273. You could go online to see if Apple has help for people who buy iTunes cards.

I had a guy add me on Facebook we started talking as friends shortly after talking a few days he asked me for 500 in iTunes cards he wanted them in125.00 each. Being smarted then that I started to check him out. Eveytime I went to his Facebook page all his info would change. He said it was for paper work for his job.said he was going to Cuba on a contract. His name is Jerry D Freeman from new York.Dont fall for him I went to the chief of police and DPS is taking the case over beware people

How does this works do this thieves want online gift cards or store gift cards, cause i've been asked to buy a store gift card

I was asked for $100 Itune gift card by online dating scammer became he needed to boost internet connection in Nigeria. He couldn’t purchase it there.

Was scammed yesterday. Was contacted through messenger by what I thought was one of my friends. She told me of how to claim money from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and she had received money by simply filling out a form. I trusted the message and proceeded to call the number she had given me requesting the form which they email be back and I proceeded to fill out the form. They said I was approved but needed $2500 for filing and handling this. This seemed wrong so I asked my friend by answering her message if that was what she did. Of course she agreed it was and I'd get the "prize money" by carrier the very next day. The scammers and I mailed back and forth about the money and finally they agreed I could send only $500. Okay, now here's what I did per their request: I bought $500 in iTunes cards, scratched off the silver to display the number, took pictures of the numbers and sent it on to them. Now they said I was approved as long as I could come up with a $1,000 more. At this point I was now feeling sick to my stomach, I knew I had just been scammed. I'm very good to this point about spotting a scam but when my "friend" gave me their phone number and encouraged me to contact them, I became a believer. Thing is, the messages from my friend were really not from her at all. WOW! Now I have no idea if I should call the police or take this as a very expensive lesson learned. Any thoughts?

You can report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give about the calls and the steps of the scam will go into a database that the FTC and law enforcement agencies nationwide use for investigations. You could tell Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 that the cards were used in a scam, although the scammer has probably used the value already.  You can also warn your friend that someone has her personal information and is mis-using it. Maybe she can warn other people she knows before the scammer calls them.

Theses are all scams ... no grown man will ever be talking about marriage to a woman he’s never met, even more so if he’s wealthy. Any story he gives about an emergency and needing money is a scam. Remember if this was real he would have a friend or relative to help him or her, if your child told you they were in love with someone they never met you would tell them it’s not love because you don’t even know them and have never met them!!! So take YOUR OWN ADVICE people!!! The minute they ask for even one dollar MOVE ON!!!

I just got scammed yesterday they told me I was randomly selected and approved for 10,200 but I had to buy two Google play cards 10-100 load 100 on each card at Winn Dixie They told me to make sure that Winn Dixie had western union so I could get my money in minutes. I felt like a criminal they told me to load the cards sit in my car and scratch off the codes... Then after they got the codes they had me call another number saying they were the federal reserve bank to verify my info so I could pick up the money these people had the audacity to ask me for another 495 dollars I am a single mom I can't believe I let them get me But this is a well learned experience... I was told the government will never call you unless you applied and still double check that before you give them any information......

I was wanting to get a personal loan to buy property. for 50,000 Thought this so called lender was legit. He wanted my cc number and last 4 which i gave then said there was a upfront fee which he would pay. He deposited 400 on my cc then told me to go to walmart and get 4 100 dollar itune cards before we can proceed with the loan which red flags went up then i ran across the site and didnt do it i cancelled my card he then threaten me with the law because i refused to run to walmart and buy these cards. I called my bank with cc and asked them if they pay by check how long does it take to clear? 7 days so in turn if i sent him back the 400 i would be stuck with a bad check and paying the money back to my cc.I emailed him which his number is a NY number and told him when check clears in 7 days u get ur money back. I knew all in my gut this was a scam. I asked him why itune cards and his reply was my atty bought a new iphone and wants to upgrade it...lol...Really? do you think i really will fall for this? After he threaten me with the law and i sent him that email he hasnt responded. I told the cc company what had happen and this check is probably bogus.

I got scammed by buying $5500.. gift card from Target, they actually showed me my ban acct: where they had deposited $11,000 by accident & wanted it back right now or get attorneys involved!! They took my recent SS money & $5000. in savings!! They don't care & you'll never get your money back as they are in a foreign country!! Red flags all over, I feel so stupid & taken!!

I may have possibly been scammed out of $200, these guys posed as guys who say they work for the government, not IRS guys but they claim to say they are giving grant money away, what should I do

Your choice of what to do next depends on when you sent the money and how you sent it. If you told a scammer the codes from an iTunes card, the scammer probably took the value of the card as soon as you told him. You could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask if there are other steps to take.

If you sent money by wire transfer, call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400. You can report scams to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint.

Who asks you to pay loans with iTunes cards ??
My mother has been scammed my dads whole life insurance police 70plus grand. And she still falls for it.

I am having guys from Nigeria and guys who say they are in the Army on a peace mission wanting me to get the I-tune gift cards. I am not going to do it. To me it is for music not for your I-phone. I will not do it. I got scammed many years ago and I will not fall for this crap again

My husband was just scammed out of 600$ they got him to buy iTunes cards to verify his identity for a Facebook account that he firehot a password for how can we get our money back

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 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.

This man sent me a friend request from fb. I went on his n did my own investigating n he seems to be okay. We have been talking about 5 months. Never meet but we say the same thing at the same time. He has only asked me to buy him itunes cards. My question what in the world can you buy off itunes for $200. This is the only thing that bothers me with him.. So i guess I'm asking does he sound like a scammer.

Someone asked me the same, except they are using a Celebrity name, picture, Facebook account

I had someone I was getting to know, and she asked for $500 of iTunes cards because her phone ran out of mins, but I could only get them in $100 or $50 then take a picture of the number and send it to her. She need it right away. OF course I did not do it. But I don't understand what the deal is with iTunes cards. What can they do with iTunes cards. I through those were just for music. Guess I'm an idiot...

You're right, people can use iTunes cards to buy music, books and apps online. A scammer might sell or exchange a high-value iTunes card to get cash.

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