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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


My story is a little different. It started with me calling HP Support for a printer problem. I got the number from the HP website. The Indian who answered the call said he could fix my problem. I gave him control of my PC, and he declared it was unprotected and I needed to buy their security software. I was on the phone for hours arguing, but I needed my printer to work, so I ended up buying a year's subscription for $250. He did fix my printer.

Four months later (last Thursday) the company called to say their server had crashed and they owed me a refund. They had to remove the software from my computer. I suspect they actually downloaded data; I don't think they installed malware. And I talked to the sales rep about the refund. I asked him to send me a check, and he said he couldn't because their server had crashed; he needed to deposit it directly into my checking account. I said, no. He said he only needed the last 3 digits of my checking account. He already knew my birthday. He did it, but instead of entering $250, he added a zero and entered $2500.

That's when this turned into a story from hell. I said I had to go (after hours on the phone) and I would send them a check for the difference. They couldn't take checks because their server had crashed. (!) Then I was told that the Indian I'd been speaking to, "Nick," would have to spend the night on the couch in the office unless I went out to a Walmart. I talked to his boss and told him to let "Nick" go home and I would deal with it in the morning and hung up. They called me back constantly and I turned off the ringer.

The next morning I answered their call and they said I must go out to a Walmart, while they were still on the phone with me (why do they want that?). I did not keep them on the phone, but I did get $2100 worth of iTunes gift cards at 3 different stores. I photographed them with my iPhone and emailed them to him.

More red flags: I think they were all in India as they couldn't get the time difference right. Some of the caller IDs were from Florida and some from Oregon. They all had Indian accents but Anglo names; James Parker was one, and Nick Goodman was another. I made them spell the name of their company; it was FixNet. If you search for it, you get nothing, so that was a lie.

Even after I'd decided this was all a scam, I felt sorry for "Nick" and that's why I sent the gift card numbers. I ended up getting my $250 refund and an extra $150 for my time, but I closed my bank account. I don't understand how they had access to it with only the last 3 digits of the account number, and neither does my bank. I'm worried about identity theft, since they accessed my PC.

I think there should be more publicity about this. I had never heard of the iTunes gift card scam, and searched online only after the fact. I have submitted a formal complaint to the ftc.

Can they hack your bank account after you gave them the security code on the back? Got scammed for $600.

I have been scam by this website for 1000 dollars itune card

I was scammed by a guy said he worked for Texaco Global marketing but Facebook profile said he worked for Facebook because I got a Facebook message from whoni thought was coming from s friend on Facebook said she won money saw me on the winners list to click this link which took me to a guy he said to go buy iTunes cards and send pictures of the back he said becssuse the winnings was cash so I thought it was real because the original message came whom thought was my friend I got scammed and then found out after I never got anything and her Facebook was scammed had I known about the ft and about the scam I never would have done it I reported to ft and Apple and tried to contact the guy that runs Facebook he won't even respond to my message I don't even know how to find out if these people get caught how I would know.

I face the same thing but I won't. Not buy. A itrune. Carf And he just won't leave me alone he make. Thing. Wrose I block him but he keep. Coming as someone else. On time he use my grandpa pic I know it was no my grandpa. Cuz my grandpa send will never ask me for money or a itrune card. And I don't know what to do can u. Help me out please.

Was talking to man in Service for several months who proclaimed to care for me.and he asked for $200 Itune card. Said he was stationed In Syria and needed right away and would I get two separate $100 cards. Like a idiot I sent $100 only because something didn’t feel right and wanted to see his reaction.. I hadn’t hear anything about this scam so ladies beware. Should have listened to my head.

This exact same just happened to me. You get hooked until they ask for the itunes card. Glad I found these entries so I didn't loose what I can't afford to loose. Thanks to others for sharing. He had videos, pictures, FB page, using the Marines as cover.

did he continue talking to you after you did this

I fell for the scam yesterday and lost USD1800 on iTunes cards. I only suddenly woke up when fraudsters repeatedly pushed me to get more cards. I’m usually very, very careful but yesterday I was scammed and have been feeling terrible. I wonder if iTunes could do anything about CORRECT iTunes payments on my bank statements that come along with that FAKE iTunes phone number 1866-712-7753 that led to my nightmare. I read after that fact that this has been going on for years with many people, and that Apple iTunes data base has been hacked for so long, putting customers’ safety in compromising positions. Is it possible to file a claim with Apple? It feels like a long short but it seems to make sense. If not, can the bank be responsible for allowing the fake number to appear on bank statements? I take responsible for being ridiculously gullible and fooled yesterday. But I’m also hoping for fairness and get my large amount of money back, if possible, if not partial with shared responsibilities (iTunes, bank and me) for fairness. I would appreciate any advice from this community. Thank you.

I need help there is a guy name Sam peters says he is with lending club he says I was approved for loan put money in my account and now wants me to send him iTunes card or a steam card

That could be a scam. Some scammers say make it seem like they put money into your account, and they tell you to withdraw money and buy them a gift card. But after you withdraw money, and give them a real gift card (or the numbers from the card) the bank says the check was no good, and there's no money in your account.

Some scammers deposit money and then reverse the deposit, after you send them the iTunes or Steam card. Then you have to repay the bank all the money you withdrew.

I wish, I read this before I got scammed, in my case with 3 credit cards, that at the end got closed by my banks plus two checkings accounts and I ended up with more debt than I already had it. I got treated with a history of love, that was supposed to help me get my payout, and conviced me to give information of my credit cards, suppodsly he deposited money to helped me, the money became available into my account, I withdraw the cash and buy gift cards and some elctronics, I ended up shipping electronics oversea, sending cards codes that were real, after maybe 5 days the bank notified me that wasn't cover, the account when negative, and my debt got double, and the fustration that I got scammed by someone suppodsly loved me, and 3 credit cards, and two checking accounts closed. Someone else contacted me in his own IG account teling me he got into an accident and that he passed way, how convenience all of this with all the pain I feel iny heart I start to see the reality, he vanished after he couldn't get any more of the money from me, and my accounts geting closed.
I wish I have a way to track him down, or the criminals that are working together with him in Russia, suppodsly members of the airbitclub company, pro100business, because that is how everything started, when he started contacted me, under the name of Carlos Bush in IG from Russia, Barnaul. I am wonder is ther is a way to tack down any of them by the serial number of the unlock phone? any advice on that?

Can you use a iTunes cards for gas

NO, you can't use an iTunes card for gas. That is not true.

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

Just had a guy by the name Micheal Colman try to scam me out of a hundred dollars saying he will marry me in order to get the money his dad left in a will which is worth millions, but I need 100 dollar iTunes card can you believe that I was born at night but not last night

They called me not once but several times. I answered 2 of them and the same story. I told them wait apple needs to fix my security problem. You mean apple computer company? They said yes. I said oh let me call the FBI. THEY HUNG UP.

I believe that I have fallen for this type of scam just today, while at work....
My computer started acting funny last night, and this morning my browser had deleted all of my saved logins. So, I logged back in to each site individually, and changed the passwords for them. I wanted to also change my Apple ID password, but I was at work, and had no access to the internet, except for my phone, so I searched for an Apple support number, and found 2 of them. (both toll free, untraceable numbers) I called the first one I found, and it sounded very professional, putting me on hold relentlessly (with horrid music), and of course, they were all Middle Easterners, at least from the accents.
I was informed that my account had been accessed from 3 other states, and from Russia, which confused and concerned me, so I continued to request to change the password. They gave me some malarky about needing me to provide the number on the back of a $200 Apple / Itunes gift card, to begin the process, and that I would be refunded $250 as soon as it was finalized.
I know, if it's too good to be true etc....
Still, I fell for it, and took my lunch break to go up to CVS and bought two $100 cards, and then gave them the numbers. Then I was transferred to an 'Accounts / Billing agent' to process my refund. This guy, who sounded suspiciously like the first guy, told me that he needed me to get another $200 worth of gift cards for them, but this time not Itunes cards, because they were having server troubles. This is all supposed to happen tomorrow, before I go to work, but I think I am going to just call them on their BS, and see if I can get any further information about these people, for the authorities, because I am pretty certain that my $200 is long gone, and was not necessary at all to change that password. In any case, I am pretty certain that i have fallen for this exact scam myself!!

I need help.yesterday I fell through and feel like a first they said im approved for 2500. And go buy itunes card for 50 30 min.later I was told that sever were block and need to go buy another 50 dollars gift card itunes.and promise me I get if refund and the will be ready in five min.well five min.pass and I tried to called .no answer for an hour.

well another person text and said she in western union dept. I waited another 30 min.and call answer. Well 15 min.later they promise that I will get the loan 8 am. Right now it is 254 am.I got a feelings that I got scam fir sending 100 .but when I get there at 8 masher will they tell me.or will they call me.I just hope they don't scam me and used thatch 100 dollar out of my rent the payment.

I just hope they means and keep their promise ,not break promise to ya think I get or the scam me for. good ? Her names is hazel brown. Advance American loan8584296436. If it a can get my 100 bucks refund back to me?

This seems like a scam.  If they promise you a loan, but say you must send money before you get the loan, that is usually a scam.

When you pay with iTunes,  it is the same as giving cash. After you give the iTunes number, the value goes to the scammer. If you have the iTunes card, you can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask if the scammer used the value.

People, make sure the location on your cell phones is turned OFF. One Scammer was stalking me while texting me because my location was ON. If you use social media to post where you are going what doing, do it after the fact. Seriously!!!!

I have a military man trying to get me to get him Amazon cards to send his mail to his mom. I think it’s a scam, so I ask for his military ID he says we won’t be friends anymore if you don’t believe me. But I’ll send it to you if you still want I said yes. He still hasn’t sent it to me. He still wants the card number and the receipt idk why.

Scammers love gift cards – it’s one of their favorite ways to get your money. If you give someone a gift card, it's like giving cash – and it is nearly impossible to trace. 

Also, an article from the US Army Criminal Investigative Command says:

Military members have an email address that end in ".mil." If the person you are speaking with cannot sent you at least one email from a ".mil" (that will be the very LAST part of the address and nothing after), then there is a high probability they are not in the military.

So I got a call from a loan company who put 2200 dollars in my account and told me to buy it all in iTunes and apple pay. I only got 1100 because that's all they had at Walmart. After I sent him the codes, I saw it was probably a scam so I still have 1100 in my account that he put in and I don't know what to do. He keeps calling me but once he got angry I was sure it was a scam

Mine started yesterday I’ve been desperate for a loan and putting my info on sites, i got a text saying I was approved for a loan by speedy cash. They put money in my account and they ask me to give it back to them in google play gift cards, today they just asked me to send them a wal-mart to wal-mart money gram. I’ve never used my personal funds but this still feels strange. I’m suppose to go to money gram to get my actual loan amount and then after I’ll get my loan agreement. I’ve said multiple times to Steven that this feels like a scam and he always reassures me but now I’m freaking out.

You're right - this does sound strange. It sounds like a scam that will take your money.

Some scammers send people fake checks or make a temporary deposit, and trick the people into quickly sending good money to the scammers - before people realize they have been tricked.

Later, when the bank finds out the check was fake, or the scammer reverses the deposit, you realize that you must repay the bank the money you sent to the scammer.

Scammers tell you to send gift cards, because gift cards are like cash. They can't be traced. Sending money by wire transfer is also like sending cash - after you send it, you probably can't get it back.

HI i recently applied for an online loan just to help out with my bills because I fell behind a little bit on the family emergency and a guy named William Smith sent me a text message saying that I was approved for up to a $5,000 loan so I called him back or whatever and he proceeded to say and that I needed to put money onto a stem card once I did that he are asked me again to put another $100 down on this so-called stem card now this all happened Thursday so Friday he was saying that the money was going to be in my bank account by Saturday morning so here comes Saturday morning there was nothing in my account so I called he proceeded to say that you know they don't do deposits on weekends only do it during business hours so wait till Monday so Monday came in there still was no money into my account so I proceeded to call Monday and finally at this point I have my fiance get involved and then like Monday afternoon they have posted a deposit but the thing they got me was they wanted me to send the money back once I got it deposited in my bank as verification that it was my bank they also asked for my user name and my password on my mobile banking site I did change my password I just wanted to know is this or could this potentially be a scam or is it legit??

If someone says you will get money, but you have to pay them with gift cards first, that's a scam.  Scammers love gift cards. It's one of their favorite ways to get your money. Giving a gift card is like giving someone cash.

If you tell someone your bank account number and password, he can take your money - even if he pretends he is going to make a deposit.

There's a guy on Instagram who is asking for donations for his charity and he keeps insisting to buy iTunes cards. He said the iTunes cards are like money.I never heard of it.I asked for the name of the charity he didn't answer back.He keeps insisting for iTunes cards.

Been messing with a gorgous (yeah right) scammer on hangouts for a couple months now and she's really good but it took her a long time to finally ask for money. That is iTune cards. She's claiming she can trade them online to bolster her trading platform?? I'm sure that's b******* I've read there's a site where scammers sell itune cards 50 to 75% of face value. I've got her believing we are so in love, so right for eachother, soulmates. Seriously, this happens in the first three chats okay 5. Of course I wanted to believe it was true what a dummy but After figuring it out I've been playing along and I want to send her and iTunes card for $100. It's the third time around and she's really worked hard to get this you know pics better pics Etc so to this end how can you trace an iTunes card? I've been at this so long figuring it out and really want to know now This Woman's location who she is the business that is the AI That's being used the bot I really don't know but I'm learning so much that I need to get to the Finish Line. I'm going to expose this person and I'm not going to give up thanks for your help

Someone messaged me on Instagram, told me he was in Afghanistan and kept calling me handsome, and sweetie. Seemed legit, until he asked me for an iTunes gift card, I am on a pension and can’t afford it. He told me $25 would be all he would need, I said no I am leery of meeting people online and didn’t want to get scammed. He never message me back, his name was Michael Alston. Please be careful, he is a smooth talker

if you get an ITunes card for someone out of the country can he make phone call to other people

No, he can't use iTunes cards to make phone calls.

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

Been talking to a guy on instagram. He says he has naked pics of me that I had sent to a women I had been talking to and now wants 200 in iTunes cards. He says he works for the fbi. What should I do

The new scam that I had encountered is a contact from an HR Representative with a Purported NY Bank for a work at home job and the scam is they would send a check for a large amount and then asking for the equivalent of the funds to be used to purchase i-tunes card in large denominations. Their rational was to purchase software for this bogus job. The smell from this scam was totally out of the ordinary. To be solicited for work at home using a scam like this is disgusting and I thought your readers should know of situation like this.

I think im being scammed too. He says hes a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Claimed to fall in love with me after just a few days. Calls me dear which i thought was odd. Does send pictures in military uniform but somehow dissappear quickly. After 2 weeks he asked for $50 on an itunes card so he can update his account and send me money. He says hes hurt that i dont trust him bc he loves me. Scam?

i met a girl online and she want to sell her i pone and she have an issue and that her i phone says in a message " your i phone needs be Activated with a $100 usd Gift Card Unit, to resume Auto Activation " Enter Card Details Here . Try Again i have a screenshoot but i don't know is that true or not ... i see many of issues of i phones but this issuse i don't see it before so what do you think about that

That might be a scam. Maybe there is really no issue with the phone. Maybe it's a trick. Maybe she wants you to send a $100 gift card, but she will not send a phone.

I was mailed $998 money order. Told go to wal mart Walgreens and so on. Buy $850 iTunes gift cards take of strip on back take pictures send to a email provided. Kept the money order and still have it.getting threats now said they were sending someone after me. Told them bring it on like to meet them. I than called FIB and local authorities. Told who to call if I get any more rift raft.under no circumstances let them have money order.I gave it to my lawyer.

This is going on with me now. The scammers name is Alexis Baldwin and he’s on Facebook. We became friends and I thought I could trust him. He deposited $1000 on my credit card and the next day demanded that I purchase $730 worth of cards. Me being stupid did so. Then he asked for more cards. I thought we had a relationship but he soon took back the $2000 he put on another card. I deleted him. He used another phone to call me and beg for my forgiveness saying it was an accident. Once again I believed him and let him put $1200 on another card. This time I did some research though. I found out this is a typical scam so I called my credit company and had the card closed and opened with new numbers. He’s been threatening me since 6 am so I reported him to local police and fbi. He also saw my complete social security number on the card website so now I have lifelock. My husband died 3 years ago and we have been destitute since then. I fell for it. I changed all passwords and security questions so he can never access my private info again. Now I’m in debt of $13,000! Never again. This girl learned her lesson and will be ignoring his calls and texts and blocking him again as soon as Facebook allows mr

I think I am being scammed by 'so called' women who ask me for itunes or amazon cards to get data or 'update' phones/laptops/etc. I also was transferring money from moneygram and WU. WHen I tell them I dont understand how iTunes card can be used to get data, etc they just keep asking.

You're right - iTunes can't be used to get data. The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

I was wondering.. I met a guy who said he was in Ukraine and needed help with buying an airline ticket but needs iTunes cards.. I told him I would buy him the ticket, and send me the info. He kept telling me, just get the iTunes cards and send it to him where he goes to a store to exchange for money.. Does this sound like a scam???

I have a man that's in the army and stationed in Syria. He's so in love with me after a CPL weeks of txtn and first he need help with his son's tuition. I didn't send anything then he needed me to send for his vacation which again cost alot and I didn't so now he needs itune cards. I haven't send any type of money and I won't.

Had a guy start a game on Words With Friends and then wants to be your facebook friend. He kept saying his birthday was coming up and he would love a gift from a cherished friend. When that didn't work he kept using the line that he couldn't purchase music on his iphone and would i buy the itunes gift card for him and then he would pay me back. Didn't fall for that. He used pictures of a very good looking doctor in Germany working for the United Nations. Very charming and sweet.

My scammers name is Scott Alex. We met on facebook. Very convencing guy. He got me for a lot of money to buy plane tickets to see me, money for his daughter Sarah, Helicopter to get off oil rig. Now he says he needs money for a box that is in the UK that is full of money. Some of his accomplishes are Maria Guzmen, Merrit James, Lisa Williams, Melodie Gordon, Sarah Scott, Eris Harris
Please beware of these people. They are scammers

Good Evening Everyone!

First off, I would like to say that I am so sorry that all of you were affected by this terrible scam. While I am not an iPhone user, I have a gut feeling that I may be being scammed as well. Supposedly, I received messages from one of my favorite actors, and he was asking me to make donations of $100-$200 for charity which I am all for doing. However, when I tried to send it through Western Union, they kept messing up the country it needed to be sent to which caused me a great deal of grief to get it refunded back to me. This same person notified me that there was an organization for disabled children which needed contribution once again and I would possibly win a shot at meeting and hanging out with him in making the donation. Once again, I tried to send a donation, but Western Union of course messed that up. Now he's asking that once I retrieve my funds to purchase $200 worth of iTunes cards and then send the picture of the receipts. As much as I admire this person in real life, I would hate it if this is a scam because I know of the charity work he does, but this just seems very suspicious, especially for someone that lives paycheck to paycheck and tries to do right with money. Has anyone else experienced this?

If someone asks you to pay with an iTunes card, it is probably a scam. An imposter probably used the name of your favorite actor and sent messages to try and get your money through a wire transfer or iTunes card. Read about how to donate wisely at

Got a text message from someone who said they needed the card to fix their IOS on the smartphone and needed a iTunes card to do it. I came here and did my homework first and now can see how the scam works. my phone got hacked a few weeks ago so now I get all kinds of crazy messages on my phone now.

I understand the people asking for large amounts on gift cards but this guy I am talking to from dating app just asking for 25$. He says he is in military and can't get one. What would he do with such a small amount? Just keep asking for more?

I to been asked to send $25 card and claims to be in the military. He says hes located in camp bowie and theres no place to buy the cards. I told him to just buy it online or through the app store. His response? He doesnt know how!


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