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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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I have an employee who is going through this. He has made payments to them. The problem is , they are calling my work number (where he works). They call 1,000 times until he makes arrangements with them. The FTC can't do anything (we filed a complaint). They stated it was a "third party". I can't have my company numbers being tied up and employees being harassed.

You can also report problems with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under federal law, a debt collector can't harass the debtor or the third parties it contacts by making repeated phone calls. This article about debt collection lists more practices that are off limits for a debt collector. 

Can you push this serious topic into action. This is a serious Crime. The FBI doesn’t help at all, unless we talk about millions of dollars and give them a $100,000 reward to investigate and arrest these bad guys. There are so many victims out there got Scam from iTunes Cards. I am one of the victim. He started to send me a chat message on Instagram, Then told me to download Hangout Apps and gave me a Google Voice number to text his cell and start to say he Falls in love and Wanted a future. A week later, I called him, Omg he sounded like an Indian, Middle East with strong accent that sounded awful, as he said he is a white guy from Matthatan New York. Then I hung up and he said his phone got hacks and he needs to get some iTunes card to upgrade the phone security. That’s why he changed his voice so hackers doesn’t know him bc he has a Lawsuit. (Apple does this? You can change a different voice on iPhone?) This is scary. So then I believed him. He then needs $300 iTunes Cards every week to upgrade his security, which I bought and spent substantial amounts for 5-6 months. During these months, he convinced me to send him some money for the Lawsuits , which I sent huge huge amounts that you would think how stupid I am sending him that much of money to help him. He is very convincing at asking for Money.
What can the FBI? Is this case too small for them to actually work hard on it? Can they track where the iTunes card were used, location, and methods, and what for? Does Apple asked their name and info when they use iTunes Cards?

If you sent money by wire transfer, you can report that to the wire transfer company. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

You can also report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

You can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 to report what happened and ask questions about the cards.

This is 100% happening everywhere!! Today I got in a call with a guy claiming to be from the IRS. He demanded payment ASAP for alleged back taxes from 2012 which I had but thought I had paid in full. They were totally insane pushy, telling me if we get disconnected in the phone he'd call the cops. Well I hung up. Ten mins later I get a call from the local PD. Freaked me out enough to call back and say listen. Why do I pay with iTunes cards?? Said it was the fed govt way of collecting payment. Then was put in with another "officer" he was even worse saying I'll be arrested in front of my kids ( this whole thing went down on my truck Bluetooth) finally had enough and next call to me was from a penitentiary in Columbus Ohio. Both times the scammers used real numbers from real PD's. Be careful. Btw.... They all sounded foreign yet used names like John Adams... Mike Black.... Be careful...

I got woken up from a call stating almost the exact same thing. Said if I hang up I would be arrested the next day. They told me to go down to Busy Best or somewhere that I could by an Itunes card. I fell for it. I was half asleep, he even said the Department of Homeland Security was on the line but I could not talk to them. Like you I had back taxes and thought I had paid them but was not sure. They first asked for 1250 or again I would be arrested the next day. I have a bad heart and started a bout of tachycardia about 140+ beats per minutes. And like an idiot I fell for it. But said I only had 250 dollars to my name and they said that was ok they will not forward to local police for an arrest warrent. I feel so dumb. I should know better. I do security audits for a living, has my CISA and 1 year shy of my Doctorate. But I am semi-retired and in my 50's . I used to worry when my Dad was alive of him falling for these kind of things. Oh at first they asked me 3 things, have I ever had a traffic ticket, have I ever filed bankruptcy and something else. Well yes I have, but everyone can get at that info. I run background checks on my daughter's boyfriends there is so much info flying around out there in the net. No more facebook for me, only used it for picks but your birthday is out there, if you ever turn on location it will imprint that on the picture so you can take a picture of your burger and you friends can see what you ate and where ate it at. I just got off the phone with the local PD and I personally know the Chief and he said no way is that not a scam. Plus having a wife pass recently I had no one to discuss this with either. And yes they were all foreign but had names like Bob and Mark, and when I said I want it escalated I got someone else and I think it was the same person.

Be careful - oh I also asked them how do they know they have the right person. There were 3 with the same name as me in this house at one time, as I am a JR and so Is my son and we all lived together until my Dad passed at one time. I would like to change my number but hate to because it was the business line they called and I don't want to miss out on a client.

And why did it not set off a bell in my mind when he said it must be a ITunes card.

Okay - I vented and told my story not I have to try and relax.

It just happened to me his id # was 694291350 .said he was from microsoft.told me to stay on hold and gopurchase I tune cards in the amount of $100.00 3 of them and dontdon't tell them what they are for.

IRS will NEVER ever call you first! They only call after having sent out at least two written notices via US post office and then only if you have ignored those notices. If they threaten you with things like they will call the cops on you tell them do it. Or tell them hey I will meet you at the pf in 10 minutes as they are only a block from me. I am turning myself in

I just scammed myself with $500 bu USfcash advance.. I feel so bad and dumb,. This person got me good with the itune card now I don't how to get my money back I almost paid another $150 but something told me not to pay and research and this is where I am now in short$500

H I was told that I was to receive a government grant for $9600. They said that I owed Missouri tax $500 before they could release my funds. When I pay the $500 they asked me for additional $200 to activate transaction. I was out for $800. Mark Williams was the scammer. The calls show up from NY 646-680-0872 ext 117.

This same exact named person just scammed my friend out of $650 using the same exact story!!! We just filed reports with local enforcement and the federal trade commission yesterday. Then I took my friend to lunch and they call her back threatening to send federal officers if she didn't pay the remainder of $300 dollars within 48 hours...ruthless!!

IVE DONE THE SAME THING. THEY TRIED TO MAKE ME BUY AND ITUNES GIFT CARD AND PUT 200 $ THEN THE 8,200 WAS MINE. WHAT A SCAM!!!

That just happened to me today an I barked that mans ear off I payed $230.00 I'm glad I stopped after that an research up on the scams after the store manager told that there scams going on.

You could help law enforcement by reporting what happened. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and tell us what happened.

You can choose how much information to give about yourself, and you can give details about the scammer who called you & what he said. That information helps law enforcement do investigations.

I've filed a report on the itune gift card scam and have not heard anything, nor got a reply to say they received it. The scumbags got
away with it $800 and i happen to have screen shots and text messages from the creeps. so i am out $800 and feel violated and stupid.

Bridgett, has anyone ever gotten their money back from the iTunes scams? I was scammed today and filed a complaint with you guys. I don't want to go to local police Bc I feel so stupid! The consumer or store I bought them from can't do anything can they?

After you give someone an iTunes card, or the code from the back of a card, they take control of the card immediately. If they use the value of the card, you can't get it back. You can also report a scam to Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273. If you found the scammer through an ad or account on a website, you can report that to the website's customer support.

I called my bank and got my 100$ back

I buy from this game and I didn't receive any things

same here except $9200 for itune card of 200 to give to fedx

I had a similar experience and I fell for it. I am now 4000.00 in debt for buying I tunes for Lending Club

That just happened to me Wednesday, the scammers are using lending club company to scam everyone, if you apply online at lending club and get a call from 210-401-1437 do not answer its a scammer, FBI is working on this case.

Well reading these makes me feel somewhat better I was trying to get a loan to get out of debt and get another vehicle mine is falling apart I heard from US Bank or so I thought

he said they would put a verification amount in my account when it showed up send it back then my loan would be deposited I tried but only way to do it was 8 I tune cards at 100 each and 1 at 50

the guys name I'm not sure of but think it was Zach Martin also a foreigner when my bank checked it out the verification amount was from a closed bank account check so it made me over drawn and I'm on disability the bank took all my check except for 33$ I am so depressed it's Christmas time and I lost almost a 1000 by trying to get out of debt and on my feet this buried me

You can help law enforcement by reporting this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. You can provide details about the person who contacted you, and the information will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. Thank you.

So is lending club a scam

Yes Lending Club is a scam. They got me. They kept telling me to pay fees inorder to get a loan. They kept calling me and hassling me, so I changed my phone number.

Is cash net a scam also. They said same thing. 125.00 itune card for loan applicatiom. Loan is fot 5000.00

They called me to wanting me to pay 150 for 4000 loan wow something needs to be done NOW

Hi just got a call from Lending Club as well.sent me $300 wants me to send $200 in iTunes card. Then will recieve $8000. Im assuming a scam right?

If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card.

If you're offered a loan, but you have to send money first, chances are you will lose the money you sent and won't get a loan.

I got called by a company who sent me $680 as a verification fee. Next day told me to send it back by buying iTunes gift cards to the tune of $650. I did so, and same day they said "your credit is not high enough" and sent me another $920 to raise my credit score. Said after getting that money back, buying $900 worth of iTunes gift cards (from the money they sent to me), then I would get my loan. Is this a scam? I'm not exactly using my own money--its money they sent me.

This is the same thing they did to me and said my money would be available at midnight so I'm hoping it isn't a scam.. It was their own Money they used even if it was! I will update soon as I know for sure!

Hi chances are yes its a scam if they are sending you money and want you to purchase itunes gift cards to send the money back to them and they send more just for more gift cards just to get a loan. Just check into it before you proceed any further with it because you don't want to be held responsible for any bad checks (if they're sending by check). Hope that helps.

I just went through the same thing this morning with Lending Club. The Financial accountant name is Jeff Thompson at (772)777-1176. On yesterday $983.79 was sent to me. My bank put a hold on that deposit til June 19, 2017. This morning Jeff wanted me to go to Walmart and load $900 on 18 Itune gift card. The customer service cashier told me right off that it was a scam. I handed her the gift cards back and I walked out the store. I had Jeff from Lending Club on the phone and told him what the walmart customer service cashier said. Jeff wanted me to send the money back as money gram or western union. I informed him that the deposit was placed on hold. Then he said he would call me later after I got off work. Right now I haven't lost any money or spent any money because it's their money. But I did change my bank passwords.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Please report it at ftc.gov/complaint so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

did they deposit money in your account and tell you to use it to buy.

Not sure how they sent you money, but if it was a check you cashed, you are responsible, but the time the funds come back as worthless, you will owe you financial institution a buxket of money. Sorry this happened.

I'm not sure if it's a scam but I just got conned into doing this but they sent me 200 and I had to buy 100 card and then my loan would be processed for 5000. I'm still waiting on the call back!

If someone you don't know offers to send you money, or wants you to send them money, it's a sign of a scam.

Sometimes, when scammers want to move stolen money, they get other people involved. They pretend to hire them, and tell them to open bank accounts and deposit and send money. Or, they start an online "romance" and ask their sweetheart to open a bank account to send money as a favor.

If you give your bank account number and personal information to a scammer, there's a risk of identity theft. The FTC has tips about what to do if information is lost or stolen.

I met a man on line. We had a romance together, I thought. I sent him a iTunes card w 50.$ on it. He wanted a lot more but I didn't have it. I also sent he some nude pictures. Now he wants more money or else. Pictures will be sent to family an friends! What can I do? Anyone help?

I meet a man just the other week online..said he was american but worked in nigeria..within a week he said he was in love with me..then today he asked if i could get him itunes cards so he could speak to his daughter..said he was to busy to get them himself..im very sceptical..he only got woman who follows him on insta..also only a few photos of himself..hi calles himself Ambrose Morrinsson

You 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.

Can iTunes card be used to get connection on their iphone? in order for someone to share their location.

No, you can't use iTunes to get a connection an an iPhone or to share a location. The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

I have been talking to this guy online from Facebook which he sent a friend request we only been talking for 2wks now all of a sudden he mention he needed help an if I can purchased something for him an I responded I dnt kno u like that an I don't feel comfortable gettn sumtn for someone that lives in California an o live in Richmond Va! He mention he had a son an he had to rush him to the hospital an said he have an infection an then mention the doctor needed special tool for his son to put in his head which sounded suspicious! Because what doctors do u kno that don't have all the tools they need!so he mention an iTunes gift card for 25$ an that what he needed an wantd me to send the pin code to him an been bugging me all damn day! I knew something wasn't right I'm keeping this iTunes card I'm glad I look this up! An he calls himself Alexander Adams

Does he work at a gym..this guy might be the same guy asking me to do it

Just ignore him he doesn't know any of your relatives it's just a threat just believe me

had the same thing happen sent nude pictures and all the sudden got threats that this person was going to share the pictures with friends family and even work. nothing was shared that i know of but i'd be careful

It's a scam!! They will findo a way to get all the funds and your account will be negative. I know, because it happened to me. Report it to your bank immediately!!

I did a loan online and loss $2050 bought gift cards apple itunes and I never got a loan and its a scam and fraud i felt very sad loss all my money to the bad people . it was upstart loan their # 214-683-9768 Lisa Smith was her name . I'm so scare about the online now. and also I loss $4500 to another loan call speedy cash 214 618-9897 his name is Keith Wilson he told me to buy google gift cards and I never got loan it was a fraud and scam . i was struggle to pay my bills and crisis its happened to me please help.

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