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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

Comments

Please understand that these creeps are well trained experts and not everyone is a cynical skeptic. Many people are just honest, law abiding citizens who want to pay their debt and avoid legal problems. These creeps are specially trained in psychological terrorism. Stop blaming the victim. They were doing what they thought was the good and honest and right thing to do. The terrorists use fear and mental manipulation to brainwash these people into buying these cards. It always seems obvious when you're not in the middle of it. These people weren't aware of the scams so they fell prey. Educate rather than ridicule and maybe the next person to read this will be saved from the struggle my daughter suffered at the hands of these monsters.

I understand how someone can feel as surprised as you at how people actually fall for this, but as well as being well trained scammers, many of the targets are elderly or disabled people who are very vulnerable. My mother is a brain cancer survivor who is missing a large portion of her brain. She is well care for but also has been blessed with a surprising amount of coherence given her condition. She has a bit of social life of her own and as much independence as she's been able to maintain. She was scammed out of $500 because she contacted me after they insisted on more money. She waited to contact me because she was absolutely terrified. Being a cancer survivor, she is often getting calls from bill collectors and other sorts. She has no knowledge of the current laws regarding financial debt and was terrified by the sort of legal persecution they were claiming to hold against her. People like her are merely victims without that ability to guard themselves from these scammers. It is the job of those who are outraged by these things to help advocate for them. These scammers should be stopped immediately. I'm following through with a full police report and everything regarding the incident. I understand it is most likely a lost cause, however, it's worth a shot if it gets the authorities a step closer to stopping these people.

I met this guy on FB not to long ago at first I thought it was innocent, He said he just wanted to be friends so excepted his request. It wasn't long Until he said he loved me and that he wanted a relationship with me, I told him that I wasn't looking for a relationship and by the time you knew it he was posting pictures of me and him side by side not together saying one day I would be his. This happened in just 2 days! I told him he was going to fast for me. Well to make the story short. I've only known him for like 3 weeks now and he's asking for money saying that he won't be my friend if I don't send him money! Well much to his surprise I'm not easily scammed. I refused to send him money and now he doesn't wanna hear from me. I'm running away from this one. Thank goodness for Dr Phil on this one. Sincerely hopeful

What was the guys name only asking because the same thing happened to me I told him hell no im not sending you anything but he keeps messaging me

It's not their fault even not my fault we didn't know about this since it's new to us. Even iTunes to me. Nobody. Perfect but learning our own mistakes

Sounds familiar! ITUNES card purchased to return the so called "good faith" money that is deposited into your bank account to show the FTC and FDIC you are a "good risk"! (I know sounds ridiculous but I fell for this even though I was very suspicious but also very desperate.) On September 2, 2016 the same thing you described happened to me. The result of this loan scam is my account has been closed by the bank and I was told I can never get another account for 5 years at this bank or any other! I presume the bank considers me either involved knowingly or something awful like that. I only tried to obtain a loan to pay some taxes that are due on my offer in compromise with the IRS before the OIC is placed in default.

I completed an online loan application which surprisingly required bank routing, account number, SSN, online banking information (this must be so the fraudster can deposit his fake checks through "mobile banking"!!! I have never in my life used mobile banking in the history of having my account so I was particularly surprised when I alerted my bank that I knew I had been scammed because customer service told me many checks had been deposited through mobile banking and a HOLD was placed.

I am very distraught over this and have placed an FTC complaint. I tried to put in a claim at the bank which I was never allowed to do since they closed the account and every banking department I phoned to explain this FRAUD told me "we can't help you as your account has been CLOSED by risk mgmt. I think this reaction is extreme as I tried to proactively alert the bank's FRAUD department of the goings on and gave them complete information the same day they scammed me.

EVERYONE - these loan scammers are several people, they all have accents and they are giving fake names of Eric, Kevin and David Cooper (who supposedly is the "wire transfer manager" of Advance America. The David Cooper person calls from some NY office while the Eric Foster person calls from a NJ number and each one is INDIAN. So, do you really think they would have american names like Eric and David - BEWARE these con artists are in a ring! They never respond to you after they get the ITUNES code ( the fake money they are making your account the repository for) and they are very particular about where they want you to purchase the ITUNES cards.

These ITUNE cards are only required because "you have a low "credit score" and have to show their company that they can "trust" you to repay their loan - this is called their VERIFICATION process!! After you "successfully" pass their verification process, your loan will be FUNDED in 25 minutes. (I KNOW- SOUNDS SO RIDICULOUS AS I AM TYPING THIS I CANNOT BELIEVE I FELL FOR THIS NONSENSE!!!)

this exact mess has happened to me in the exact order you have written it! i cant believe this has happened!how dumb uugghh

Got me for 6400. Knew where I lived, where my wife worked, how old my daughter was, etc. That made me think is was legit. It got real when they threated arrest of my 18/yo autistic daughter as an accessory to tax evasion. All I could imagine was her in the fetal position in a cell.

you cant get them not to lie to you

At first I received email threats, saying that I was going to be taken to court and arrested. This guy call him self Melvin Colman but had a foreign accent. The phone he called me from was a cell phone with a 202 Area code. I searched the number it's by a navy ship yard in Washington DC. He then started texting me saying to buy a $400 iTunes gift card to make a payment or I would be arrested.
He won't stop calling or emailing me. Grrrr

In the last 24 hours I received 2 voicemails from (206)472-6025. When I called back the lady claimed to be from the U.S. Gov. grants department. She claimed that I had been randomly selected to receive a grant and gave me a confirmation number and phone number of alleged grant financial officer to call "right away". I called (206) 245-5109 and the man said his name was Kevin Parker. Then told me that I needed to go to one of his list of stores Walmart, CVS or Walgreens and call him when I got into the store parking lot. That I wasn't to hang up until we had completed getting my government fund number unlocked. That I needed to purchase an iTunes card for the amount of $250 dollars to do so. That was supposed to unlock a grant for the amount of $7800 that I would receive via Moneygram plus be reimbursed for the $250 in addition to the $7800. It all smelled fishy so I contacted you. Thank you.
Sincerely, Eric

Hey they just told me I owe $400 from 2012 and they said the job i work at but they wont tell me where the court room is and what day. They just said i gotta pay now cause the fbi got a warrant for me

I got a call from someone saying they worked at better business burue in Washington DC and if we sent a payment in of 2 hundred and 50 dollars they would send us 9200 hundred dollars said they where the federal government.so I sent it in form of iTunes cards then I was instructed to send more all together I sent 17 hundred dollars in Itune cards in promise of them money graming me 11 hundred dollars please contact me I did record some of the conversation and I have phone numbers please contact me at 540xxx xxxx

But IF they get the iTunes card info, what's the worst that can happen? (Other than the victim losing the value of the card, obviously.)

They try to give me to sign up by buying three iTunes cards were $100 each and said that they will give me $9000 I knew it was a scam right a way

Erma both guy ask for money are itune card put money one of them us fake name act like he was and the army other just ask to get him 50 itun card to make a phone card i know it both scan i dont send no money to them i am good

Yeah my husband just got scammed!! Hee fell in love in only a month!! Was sending money that we don't have!!! Plus he almost left Mee plus she told him to sell our house and take half of the money an I Know what was coming next!!!

I just received a call from a person saying he was from the IRS and that I owed 13,786 for tax fraud for the years 2010-2015. I admit I got pretty nervous until he said that I should make a 1,000 payment using the iTunes gift card. He said that I should make two payments of 500 and put it on two cards.

Once he said that, I immediately went to the irs.gov website and researched the scams information and it clearly stated that information regarding making a payment using gift cards and that the IRS would never ask for payment to be made using a gift card.

He even said that if I didn't make the payment the police would be at my door in 45 minutes. The IRS website stated that they would never call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Please be CAREFUL, I almost fell for it.

I am too so Glad, cause yesterday I gotten a call for a $5000 approval and I called the guy back and he also told me he was from Advance Amercia Dot Com and telling I am approved for $5000 and that I need to get an iTunes gift card for $150.00 and I will get my $5000 into my bank account.. I almost fell into it cause I need the money but I gotten an eerie feeling when he was talking about the iTunes card.. I even asked why do you need an iTunes card? And he just changed the subject.. Wow!! People now days.. Smh..

I got a call from a payday loan and they said I was approved and then asked how much I was looking to get. I told them 1000.00. they said OK and deposited 2500.00 in my account and wanted me to send the 1500.00 to them on $500.00 iTunes cards. And I can keep the remaining 1000.00. the guy said not to tell people about the way they did the loan this way and if anyone asks that the deposits were made by me in my name to my account not them.I with drew all the funds and closed out my bank account.

Did you keep the money? Because they did to me and I don't know what to do.

If a scammer puts money in your account, and then reverses the deposit you will have to repay the money.

don't do it its a scam they got me good I did it twice I am so messed-up with my bank, I don't know what to do? I

Had the same con try to get me! It's so ridiculous I just laughed and hung up on them.

someone message me in facebook when i tried t search for an online homebase job...i know she knew already that im from the philippines...she told me to buy an itune card so that i can post ads in craigslist without removing from the site...

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books. It is not related to searching for online jobs, or posting ads.

If you buy iTunes card and tell someone the code from the back of the card, they take the value of the card. You get nothing.

This is great that you didn't fall for it. I was not so lucky and have been in so much grief and really feel embarrassed because i did fall for it. i have tried to get some resolution or help and feel i keep the run around or pass to the next. Apple i feel is trying some but idk? because when i first called in they didn't tell me that there was other folks and that the problem even existed. they said for me to go back to the place i got the itunes cards from? im really hoping something will happen to get my $$$ back. this loan place was extremely believable and prep to perform, i fell for it!

Omg I just got scammed today I can't believed that I spent 1,300 for stupid iTunes I fall for it! I'm all upset and heart broken I can't believed this I lost my whole money for this.I was never experienced scams before until now!

Yep they are telling me right now that I will be given court summons in few days. They said they will see me andy lawyer there.

on yesterday I was scammed out of $230.00 I am devistated I was trying to get an emergency loan and they had me buy two different Itunes cards. They wanted more money and all of a sudden I no longer qualified.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Bridget, it's been recommended I attempt to get a lawyer for a similar scam as all of the above that resulted in a loss of $2500.00. I've already reported the incident to FTC, as well as iTunes, my bank, the stores where the cards were purchased, and the local police department. I wouldn't know where to begin with the type of lawyer. Do you have a suggestion?

Thank you.

If you're looking for a lawyer, you can use state-by-state list from the American Bar Association or visit this site from the State Bar Associations.

These people just got me for 500.00$ made my reports to every higher up person involved however what good does that do ? Nothing because I have not and probably will not be reimbursed for the 500.00they stole! However let this shoe be on other foot and let me be the scammer best believe I would be caught thrown in prison.

I feel these multi billion dollar companies such as iTunes should reimburse the victim just like the credit card companies and bank reimburse the victim who is a customer when there is fraudulent activity on bank accounts or credit cards ! It's B's that these companies do not honor their customers and reimburse them instead it's like they too also victimize the already victimized victim and don't care because they got the $ when their gift card was purchased!

So did I! Did u get your money back?

I wish I would have known about this site a month ago. I got taken for 600.00 dollars from Advance America for a online loan.Paid for the loan with I tune gift card's. I'm really stupid.

I'm sorry that happened. You can help law enforcement by reporting what happened. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and give as many details as you can about who called, what they said, and what you did. The information you give will help law enforcement with investigations.

You are just trusting and that was taken advantage of. Try to not beat yourself up anymore. I hope things are getting better for you. It's sad how we can't be trusting or kind those we don't know anymore.

A girl on Facebook sent me a friend request and I accepted it. Now a few days later she is suddenly in love with me and is asking me for an iTunes card for 50$i have never dealt with this kind of thing before and am very confused about it.Do these scammers stoop to such levels as to play on a single persons loneliness?? I need advice because I am about to go send the money. I have their phone number but they prefer to chat on messenger. PLEASE HELP!!!

This sounds like a scam. If someone you barely know and never  met asks you to send an iTunes card, don't do it. People will make up lots of stories about needing money or iTunes cards or help, but the stories are probably lies. If you send money one time, they'll ask for more.

Same happened to me. Guy chatted me up and asked me to buy him a $25 iTunes card so we could talk instead of text. Then he asked for another $50. Nope. Wouldn't do it and bam, he's gone!

Oh well oh well...it might be a scam and it
Might be now...for verification you can make a video call with her or call her to what out her accent and ask her a couple different questions...if you still feels doubted about her you might arrange for meet up before giving out the card

Do you know her name?

Im so glad i found this blog i just got a phone call today for a grant and they told me it would be for $8,700 and they already had all my information and everything and they told me i can get it by going to buy a $200 itunes gift card and then i can pick up my money from a money gram at a nearby money gram store im really glad i found this blog

Got a guy from the Military trying to get me to buy him an iTunes card. Scratch ​it take a pic and send it to him. Supposed to be stationed in Virginia. Dealt with too many scammers from Ghana and Nigeria. Never got a dime from me.

I have chat with this military guy month!! Called once, today asks me get I tune card so he can call me me more . !!

Thid military guy just asked for 100.00. I only got 25.00 and he can't call me because its not 100.00. He acts like he is in love with me

What was his name?! I may be going through the same thing!

I have a guy from the military his name is lucas Fanelli talking to me for about 5 weeks sweet talker saying all the right things claims he's in love with me saying he hasn't eaten in 5 weeks cause camp kitchen got blown up I'm not stupid he would be dead after 3 weeks he is saying he needs amazon or I tunes cards so he can buy food from trader I haven't bought any and I'm not going to bother x

Burnt? How did you pay the scammer??

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