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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 How to Avoid a Scam

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Gift Card Scams

Comments

Can you tell me how he looks? Someone contacted me by Instagram telling me that he is a Marine Engineer and that he is on an oil platform in Ireland. He lives in Washington, State and has a 19-year-old daughter

I've been communicating with a guy named David Andre. He says he was born in US; raised in S. Africa. Has a 15 yr old daughter. An engineer on oil rig in Germany. Was recently robbed and stabbed in Ireland during layover on flight to US. Was out sightseeing during layover. Because he was robbed; he has no money and need money to cover medical expenses. Sends me romantic messages every morning and communicate throughout the day. African American, 6ft with beard and mustache. Is this the same guy?

Sounds like the same guy except he said his name is Jordan Israel from Baltimore Maryland.

Oh my gosh did Jordan have a young son? Lost his parents raised by Father something? Fell in love instantly was way into church gorgeous man tattoos everywhere feel like it OX? I have pictures on my gosh I wish that this was a live chat

Does he call you every evening? Played a piano in church? Mom had to move; she now lives with his Aunt.

That names sounds like someone I am talking to except its Andre David. He says he is 6'1, African American, and mustache in the Army. Says he is stationed in South Korea but from Texas.

The guy contacting me has his daughter aged 17 yrs old email me calling me mom. He is supposedly on a job in charge if guys working on an oil rig. He wants me to send him a $100 gift card from ITunes. I haven’t sent anything and do not want to send any monies.

I wasn’t trying to meet anyone romantic online. How can I stop the communication without deleting my email account or should I just create a new account. So tired of people creating fake accounts on Instagram!

This guy has white/gray hair with short beard. One picture he has his daughter behind him on a motorcycle and the email of his daughter had her at her current age. Both individuals are white. The guy wears black rimmed eyeglasses.

Could this guy be a real person and his daughter? It is sad a person can’t just have friends on Instagram without being asked for monies. Understand that is how people are in today’s world, but it makes me want to delete all of my accounts.

The guy was talking about us moving to FL and me leaving my own family behind, but having his daughter live with us. He said he wasn’t raised to take care of someone elses’ Kids.

I've been chatting with a guy who was from NY. Grandson in boarding school and got a contract on oil rig in north sea. So many bells went off and i felt sorry for him. Until today when he said he needed itune card to communicate. My hangout account was not my real email account. I never trusted him enough.

Omg...what was his name?

I think I just talked to this guy...same MO...daughter in boarding school...in Fl and is a marine engineer...wanted me to marry him after talking to him for 1 day because I was the perfect woman....send pictures of himself and looked very charming...then today he asked me for money for his business. I read him the riot act and told him what I thought of his attempt to scam me and told him he was scum..I was actually waiting to see how long it would take him to try and scam me..he tried to explain but I indeed cancelled the Hangout app because that's all that is on there...I had read some of these because another one who claimed to be a doctor in the UK wanted ITunes cards to get more data...told him no and have deleted the app and all the scammers...

Amanda, I’m pretty certain that you and I are talking to the very same man! He is using the name Maurice Davis, and has a 12 year old daughter named Debbie that is in a boarding school in Los Angeles, California, because he is working in the Mediterranean sea on an oil rig......... Wow..... What names is he giving you?

I was talking to the same guy. On oil rig. Daughter in boarding school. Wanted itunes cards to process some documents. Went by the name lowell myers

please gime some info on this ?? i am about to go with some guy he want to make me a deposit he said he need steam card and i tunes card and that he will make me a deposit

After reading all your comments I just realized that i to was almost scammed. This guys name is Iglesias Lion. Hes 35. Been in the service since he was19. Jas a daughter. The mom died week after giving birth. He says hes in Syria and his daughters with military welfare and he hasnt talked to her in 7 months and he needed a steam to send to federal authorities to reactivate his phone so je could contact his daughter. I looked in many other websites and never found his profile anywhere. .

Hey Alex do you remember his name? Bc the way you got done my aunt is getting done the same exact way. So I'm just wondering if it is the same person

I receive these emails from time to time. What these fake soldiers and sailors fail to grasp is that Uniform Cose of Military Justice, which applies to ALL US military personnel proscribes looting which is defined as removing anything of material value from a combat theater.

I had similar things to happen to me too. But anywhere I sent in the fake photos and name,,, they don't resolve it or refer me to someone else. My scammer made many promises too,,, but he wasn't military. He was from cargo ship for OPEC. I was used for 10,000 in two years time. Even after I found proof on him,,, he still denied it. He started out with western union in the states BC he said he's from Texas. I sent wu to Texas,,Ohio. Then he wanted iTunes cards. The last times was Steam cards,,but said BC I messed up one card,,, he couldn't redeem. I emailed the card company,,, they said it was redeemed in their system, I called him a liar and I knew he was trying to get extra 100 from me. He was ignoring what I said,,, so I blocked him.

Sent the cord to my email

Wow. I feel like my bank account and investment and all of the above access and maybe are being tampered with. What’s the best way to report FBI, or my bank

Oh my gosh this is exactly what happened to me!!

This scammers got me for 1400.00 +. They said they were from Microsoft Corporation to pay off a $300 warranty for life. Dum me they also told me that a Virus was in my computer creating errors. I trusted them since they said they were from Microsoft I let them access my computer. Of course I fell for it. They threatened to lock up my computer, which they did anyway. So BEWARE for these scammers saying they are Microsoft Corporation technicians. The name of the tehnician I talked to was Richard Smith. I reported it to Microsoft and filed a complaint and to the Attorney Generals from Texas and California. I need to file to the FTC too. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Wow richard smith. I was talking to a so called military man named smith Richards he said he is in Egypt on peace mission. First asked me for $760 for a ticket home because he missed me and just could not be without me I said no because I was already scammed by a man using the name Markham Latin oh that person used me but any way. Sir Richards then said military is cutting off the internet and he needed a itune card stupid me knowing I already got scammed sent one then a month later he says it is now used up if I could send an Amazon card for same reason I said no so a week after that he said if I didn't send an other itune card we will not be able to communicate so I said ok because I am not sending anymore then I know he blocked me witch is fine but a week after I get a text from. A different name and a boy saying he is the son of sir Richards this is all texts no calls ever I never heard ether of there voices the son said his dad told him to check on me and if I would do the itune I said I was not working and couldn't

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.

Can you find track someone if you sent wired money transfer to South Africa using WorldRemit?

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

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