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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


I received a call from the IRS that I owed 6,785.00 I was told to go buy ITUNES gift cards. Then instructed to scratch off the numbers and tell him. He said if I didn't pay the would put a warrant out for my arrest. All ready filed complaint with FCC. The number came up as 206-946-9656

This just happened to me today they got me for 350$

This just happened to me and they almost got 2,000. I couldnt even look up if it was a scam because they wouldn't let me get off the phone with them. If I did they told me they were going to keep my arrest warrant as it looked like I was running from the government.

If you told a scammer the codes from the back of iTunes cards, you could contact Apple Customer Support immediately to see if they can stop scammers taking the value of the cards.

Please report the call to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The details you provide help us track current scams.

I just got scammed for $9000 from the homeland security through itunes. I want my money back! How can I get it back!!

If you buy iTunes cards and tell someone the codes on the back, he can take the value immediately. The scammer might have already used the codes you told him.

You can contact Apple Support right away and ask them to stop anyone from taking the codes. If the scammer didn't use the codes yet, Apple Support might be able to help you.

Please report what happened to the FTC at Give as many details as you want. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations across the country.

Bridget, I called ITunes support and All 10 cards were redeemed but 1. I am short 8500 now because I was being stupid. How can I get this refunded? iTunes can't refund and I doubt the 3rd party seller (grocery store) could reimburse. Could I get credit somehow? I am not giving up on getting my money back. I need some suggestions

I think you're saying you bought 10 iTunes cards, and the scammers used the codes for nine cards. You have one card that wasn't redeemed. When you give iTunes cards or codes to a scammer, he gets the value of the cards. You can ask Apple Support or customer support at the grocery store about refunds or credits, but they don't have the cards or card value to return to you.

Please report this to the FTC at so the information gets to law enforcement. When you report, the details go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can provide details about the callers and what they said and other facts. You can also ask your state Attorney General’s office if they can help.

I got scammed for 1900, plus money out of my pocket, and have 2 bank accounts closed now cause of them. They said i qualified for a $5000 loan, and bla bla bla Fell for it. Apple should refund the cards we used in the scam, I'm on social security too.

You could call Apple Support right away at 1-800-275-2273 to see if they can disable any of the cards you bought, in case the scammer hasn't used them yet.

Please report this to the FTC's law enforcement database at The details you give will help law enforcement investigations. If you can provide phone numbers or email addresses or other information about the scammers, and details about what you bought and where it can help.

Please help me I called that number but they are closed I I'm going crazy right now i told my family but it they said it's impossible until I read all this i I never give my info on line or over the phone so how did this happen? I don't want to blame this person I have been friends with for a month but it's so weird how he gave me a a target gift card today i had a bad feeling about this man but I don't want to blame him for this until I'm sure plead someone help me if u can soon as possible I'm

I got a. Call. Today and they got my banking info online banking Info too but he. Said if will put like 1000 in my bank account but .. Can't use it till I. Get a apple I. Tunes gift card and send it back and then 5000 will be in my bank account should I close my account and change my online banking info

Apple should NOT refund the cards you used in the scam if the thief redeemed them. You are saying Apple should spend their own money on a silly mistake you made. That isn't fair and isn't their responsibility. Why did you think paying with itunes cards didn't sound silly? That's a very clear scam and not one general people with common sense even fall for without looking on the internet. Next time look up the scam.

Just told to purchase a itune card for 200 dollar, to get a loan. Their # is 305 831-1917. Advance america. 18651 south dixie highway.

I'm glad you avoided the scam. Please report what happened at The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you post here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.


Hi, did you get your money back?

tell me all about it, i think i can still help

Meet someone on dating website and I was hit by 5 scam s any way they didn't get any cash but this last one need iTunes to increase his intl calls to me. He said he uses them as credit for intl thus true?

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

I'm with you!!!! My friend was scammed with ITune Cards. Okay, she was an idiot and fell for it but here's what I don't get -- Doesn't Apple own ITunes? They are so secure they do not break the code on cell phones. They don't do it for the FBI or anyone. They're loyalty is to their customers.

1. I did not know that ITune Cards can be turned to cash 2. I thought they could only be used to purchase music, videos and stuff like that. Only use it on ITunes website. 3. How can scammers turn that into immediate cash? 4. If Apple knows about this - why haven't they done something to prevent it. 5. It doesn't happen with Visa, MasterCard or American Express? 6. Or do they like this because they make money. 7. My friend was told that they stopped it & they froze 5 accounts 8. Apple told him to take the cards back to the store and they would refund the money. 9. Store said no because they $ was not on the cards 9. If they stopped the transfer and froze the accounts? Who has the money? 10. The grocery store or Apple? 11. What is wrong with this picture? 12. Who is really scamming us? Can't stand thieves!!! It is the lowest anyone can go. Work for it like honest people.

You're right; iTunes cards are good only to buy music, books and other digital content. Scammers are probably getting money by selling the codes from the back of iTunes cards.

If you tell someone the code from the back of an iTunes card, but you call Apple Support immediately, Apple Support might be able to disable the code before someone uses it.

If that happens, the card/ code still has value. You can go back to the store that sold you the card and tell customer service staff you want a refund. You might have to look online for a corporate number for customer service if the local store won't help you. You can also contact Apple Support again to confirm that the card still has value.

It's also really important to report this to law enforcement. You can report to the FTC at, and the information will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations nationwide.

Bridget, you mentioned in your comment to go back to the store the gift card was purchased from to get a refund. Many stores have a no refund policy on gift cards because the way they have to be loaded/activated for the customer. I've worked in retail for many years, and this has been the case with the stores I've worked for. We've had to refer customers to call our customer service or the customer service for the card.

Thanks for this information; we'll let people know they may need to contact the corporate customer service in addition to contacting Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273.

Bridget, ITunes rep was able to freeze the accts the iTunes $went into. Her money is in a frozen acct. why can't ITunes get it back.

If the money/ iTunes value is in someone's account, I think you have to work with Apple Support. Here's one number for Apple Support if you're calling from the US: 1-800-275-2273. You can also contact Apple Support online; you have to answer questions about the problem before you can connect to a person or chat function.

Apple told me to go back to the place i bought the gift cards they said POS and i feel like apple just passing me off they didn't even tell me that there was a scam breakout with itunes gift cards. i didn't realize that there had been until after the call to apple and was on the phone over a hr what a disappointment.

So it seems many people are experiencing this scam with I tunes. When will it be enough people before something is done about it???? I called Apple they pretty much stated they could not do anything and there was no one I could talk to about it other than the guy u get when u first get through. Surely they can trace the account the cards were spent at and stop the payment. It's bull. sure It's my fault I got sucked in but there needs to be more protection and more legal repercussions. I did file complaint with FTC but need more info and confidence on what is being done to stop this and on apples response to this.

Thank you for reporting this to the FTC at The FTC and other law enforcement agencies can use the information you submitted for investigations.

If the scammer pretended to be from the IRS, you can also file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General, which investigates IRS imposter scams.



All this scams orginates from india only. Moreover from cities like new delhi ahemadabad and mumbai i have personally seen such call centre doing technical support, payday and irs scams.

Bridget Small - FTC you keep asking every victim to report this to the FTC, but you and the FTC failed to advise the victims the Federal Government will not get back their money. When The FTC, IRS & other Federal agencies claim to prosecute or litigate civilly against any one involved in such scam or fraud, not a penny is paid to the victims or the public.The Federal Government is just making more money on already violated citizens.

You have been misinformed. While the FTC, like other law enforcement agencies, may not be able to fully recover victims' losses in all cases, it does return money to the victims.

Search the list of recent FTC cases that resulted in refunds on, and click on a case name. For example, in Direct Benefits Group refunds, the FTC mailed one round of refund checks in 2015. Because money still remains in the fund, the FTC is mailing an additional 23,000 checks totaling nearly $990,000. Or look at Oro Marketing, where the FTC is mailing 6,192 refund checks totaling over $1.3 million to people defrauded by a telemarketing scheme that targeted Spanish-speakers with false promises that they could make money by reselling high-end goods.

In addition to reviewing the list of FTC cases that resulted in refunds, you may also want to subscribe to FTC Press Releases, to learn about the cases and refunds as soon as they are announced.

I have contact whit scammer I bought 5 I tune's cards but I didn't not send the numbers of it ! Now I have the cards and don't know how to get money back . the store won't return the money and aple store dot even sell I tunes cards if anyone know how I can get my money back I will appreciate the info . thank you !!

If someone told you to buy iTunes cards 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.

Do not tell the codes from the back of the cards to anyone except a person you call at Apple.

Tell Apple what happened. Ask them to disable the cards so no one can use them. Ask Apple what to do to get a refund.

You can also go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. Ask how to get a refund.

If you get more calls from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

i agree

The same thing happened to me. I find myself pretty smart but I fell for it and lost $6000.I was embarrassed that something like this happened to me. My goal now is if I could stop one person from this than that's what I have to do.

Did you lose the 6,000 because that's how much you spent on the cards. Or do they access your credit card from the 16 digit code and take money out of your account

who are you talking to

They just did that to me put a 1000 dollars in my acct and guess what I kept it because the same guy out of New York got me a year ago so I just scammed the scammer

If someone has your bank account number, they can put money in and take money out.

A scammer might deposit stolen checks into your account, then withdraw the money or ask you to withdraw it and send it to someone. When the bank finds out there were stolen checks in your account, they will ask you about the transactions.

Did they report to the police because you didn't give back their money ? Cause someone in TX just call me today saying I'm qualify loan and they deposit $1980 to my account and ask me to buy iTunes gift cards what should I do ?

Sounds like a scam. Please report what happened at The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Recently i received a call from someone claiming to be a grant writer. They gave me a conformation number and stated for me to go to Wallgreen's and buy a i tune card. I stated why an i tune card , they reply was so make sure you are the person and not a robot. Therefore i did nothing because i knew they were scammers because, the phone kept hanging up every time i was asking questions.Here is the number 786-410-3027 his name is Mr Travis.

Thank you for sharing this story. Please report it to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The messages you put here on the blog don't go into the database.

Then! It time to think about it now!!

What happens if they pay off your credit card from their own bank for example 5,000 then at 0 balance want you to purchase for them the same amount in iTunes gift cards with denomination amounts and scratching off the number. They don't want physical card just amount and number. What then ?

If someone you don't know offers to pay off your credit card account, and wants you to send money (or iTunes cards or iTunes codes) in return, it's probably a scam.

A scammer can say paid your credit card bill, or send you to a fake site that makes it look like he paid your credit card bill, or even pay your credit card bill with a bad check that bounces later. If it turns out that he really didn't pay your credit card bill, but you already sent him money, you've been scammed.

If you buy iTunes cards and tell someone the code from the back, he takes control of the card immediately. He can use it or sell it. Once he takes control, you can't get your money back.

I just got a job offer buying items and ship to address to be provide by the company but they have 2 weeks probation and to start working I need to process at least 8 orders and after that I going to be hired by the company, but what got my attention is that he told me that I need to have the companies credit card to do purchasing but will take 15 days to send it to me, if I can use my credit card they will pay the balance due and will use just what they paid and with that money to go and buy Amazon, Apple and ITunes gift cards, this right now its in working process, what should I do?

This sounds like a job scam. When someone you don't know says you should spend your money, and they'll repay you later, you're taking a big risk. This blog about scammers who use people to transfer money and merchandise tells more.

If you buy iTunes cards and tell someone the code from the back, he takes control of the card immediately. He can use it or sell it. Once he takes control, you can't get your money back.

I was scammed on May 10th 2018, Peter Brown offering me 500 loan, in exchange to pay off my Credit crads and it sound ok..but then after credit cards were paid in full, he asked me to go buy Google play cards in order the complete the loan process, I in-turn re-maxed out my credit cards the money he used to pay them off was returned to the credit card company NSF the cards now are doubled and over my credit limit! his number was 206-414-4756, the Google card play numbers were sent to 206-929-6827!..He kept calling asking for now a Government tax to cover the Loan I said NO..this process is bogus I decline the loan..then he said you will lose all your credit account payment so I did, im feeling ashamed that I allowed some one name Peter Brown who said he was from Capitol One Bank..

You can help law enforcement by reporting this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can tell where you found the ad for the loan, or how the scammer contacted you.

The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.


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