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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 just got called and was offered $9,000 as a loyalty grant for paying my taxes and bills for so long. I was told it was a reimbursement for doing so. I was given conf code and a phone# to call and give that code (202)792-9782 When I called Angel at EXT 107 said I needed to purchase an ITunes card for $260 then proved the 16 digit code on the back of that card. Once that code was provided then the $9000 would be released via moneygram within 45 minutes. Soon as I got off the phone I googled this and immediately found this site. It's so sad that this is going on and that lots of people have been duped. If it sounds too good to be true... It probably is.

I am tight with the buck, I think that I have at least average common sense, that said, I am really stupid. Got scanned for $2,000. ITUNE cards 6/15 and nearly lost an additional $3,000... The "STORY"; Grandson calls, in jail and needs bail, there goes $2,000. Then need 3K for attorney fees. Clerk asks me if I am being scammed when buy the 3K ITUNE cards, and I say no, I know what I'm doing... Stopped and thought about it after I bought the 3k cards. Grandson is not in jail, called APPLE trying to get the 2k in cards voided, forget that, called credit card company to deal with APPLE, no good, reported incident to local police.. Now I have SIX $500.00 ITUNE cards, store will not take them back.. Need to try APPLE again to see if they will void them and make some reimbursement ...... HAVE A GOOD DAY

I"m sorry this happened to you. You can contact the fraud department of the store that sold the cards to you. Tell the fraud department you want to file a report, and want a refund.

You can also contact Apple Customer Support. Apple Customer Support may be able to help you get a refund from the card seller. You could contact Apple again and explain that you have a receipt and police report, and that the funds are on the cards.

Please report this to the FTC at The details you provide - for example, about the scam call, your report to police and seeking a refund - will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Hi im terrie just got scammed out of 3000 !!i was trying to get a personal loan and the girl wgo called had me use itune cards for wiring transfers for loan app for stae and federal taxes and on and on

i ask for my money back they told me i had to purchase another itune card to pay for my money to be sent back to the bank that didnt happen they called me back after promising me that my funds would go back to the bank they asked for abother itune card for 600 hundred for all the paperwork to be put back together and signed off

so all together i apent 3000 on itune cards !!! They will not give me back my money they say there address is consumer loan dept 800 w 17 th st washington d.c 20006 there number is 1 209 644 2221 ask for rodger or nicole or mark or rick or nelson one of them will scam you !!! Im a honest person on s.s.d get very little income its my fault for going with it but i really did need the 3000 to pay my taxes now i might lose my house which is paid off !!!

Please file a report with the FTC at The information you put in your complaint will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can enter the address, phone number and names that the scammers used.

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

If you're having trouble paying property taxes right now, you could contact your local government and ask if they can help you with a payment plan. If you need to pay state or federal income taxes you can contact those tax offices and ask about a payment plan.


Apple knows that their iTunes gift cards are being used fraudently in this way -- in effect, they are laundering money -- but they do nothing to stop it. What is their responsibility/liability in this?



We appreciate your concerns, but cannot comment on any entity’s possible responsibility or liability in connection with such a scam.

Totally agree with Mark S. The fact that they sell $500 iTunes cards says they are complicit. There is nothing to buy with these cards anymore - a song costs $1 and most people use streaming services. It is totally outrageous

I received a call stating I owed the IRS $6000 and I needed to pay immediately or else an arrest warrant would be issued. They instructed me to leave my job and go to my car for "privacy reasons", then instructed me to immediately drive to the nearest pharmacy and purchase an I-Tunes gift card. This seemed very strange, so I asked for the IRS regulation number authorizing the IRS to collect via I-Tunes. The foreign scam artist got very aggressive and kept threatening me with arrest. I called him some few choice curse words and hung up the phone. They immediately called me back and I hung up again.

they call me today and they want me to pay them 1000 for goverment for my SSN and the government only see but can not do anything.

If a lots of people get trap like me who can help them or if they kill themself because of trust a nation in there have the laws and rules that can help people live a good life and good work to have money to servey there family....But nothing like ex:if someone try your name do do bad thing you hear it but you did not do anything to stop that event you have the power in your hands so you will stop or let them do whatever they want to do to trick people around you by your name (lucky my nam is not government)

I cry to much lastnight so now I do not have tears so I only say I will try to get some job and rebuild money for all my bills. Again I FEEL so upsad why nobody help me. DO YOU FEEL reproachful when you have powers in your hands but you just sit there and can not do anything ( I guest)i have no money to pay for my bill now GOD help

My son just got ripped off by the IRS and iTunes gift card scam for $2300. Called Apple iTunes and they said they could not share information about who is using the cards but have the information on file.

When I continued to press, the supervisor stated that they can only release the information to law enforcement. As we all know you need an iTunes account to use iTunes gift cards, why can't the FTC or IRS ask for the information from Apple and follow up with who is accessing the funds?

Since most of the calls are threatening, doesn't it fall under extortion? The electronic transactions can be traced. Even if the cards were used to purchase specific products from iTunes store, they can all be traced and accounts disabled.

Please ask your son to report this to the FTC at The information he gives will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I agree apple should be forces to turn over that info! They did the same thing when they refused to help the FBI with a known terrorist crime on our country's soil. We as Americans should boycott Apple. Instead the issues get pushed under the carpet and our $ keeps lining their pockets

Did your son get refund somehow?

The same thing happened to me yesterday they took out 200$ out of my iTunes gift card,Is there any possibility of me getting it back please help me out I'm stressed out.

If you tell someone the code on an iTunes card, he can take the value from the card immediately. If you think maybe the scammer didn't use the value yet, contact Apple Support and ask them to disable the cards so the scammer can't use it.

If the scammer already used the value, the money is gone. It's important to report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

- I just got scammed by some one in Sanfrancisco the scamers told me that iam tax defaulter and pay 2000 dollars now otherwise they will arest me and put me in a jail then i purchased 2000 dollars worth itune gift card but i did not give them the code of cards and even not scrached the cards i go back to cvs for refund my cards but they said they did not refund that cards please any one to help me to how can refund these un used cards and get my money back

You can contact Apple Support. Tell them that you have the cards, and the codes were not used. Ask them for help with a refund. Also, go back to the store and talk to the customer service department. You might have to look online for a customer service department email or phone number for the business. Tell them you have the cards and the codes and you want a refund.

It is also very important to report this to the FTC. Go to and explain what happened. Include all the details you have. The information will go into a database, and law enforcement agencies look at that information.

If the store or Apple will not help you, please send another comment. Your comments help other people know what scammers are doing.

I called apple support they told me that it is refundable but you didn't buy these card from us thats y we can not regund it you purchased itune hift card from cvs and your money is in cvs regester so they will returend it but cvs not ready to refund they told me contact with apple please any one help me this regard my cards are un used and un scrached so what can i do for got my money back

You might have to contact the customer service department for the company if the local store will not help you. You can ask Apple Support if they can give you proof that the cards have value if that is what the store wants.

I hope you did report this to law enforcement at Your story will help law enforcement know more about this scam, and help with investigations.

This FTC article tells more about making a consumer complaint.

You might use social media to tell your story. Many companies have people who look at the public posts and complaints about their service that appear on social media pages. Your post will be most effective if you use a reasonable tone and explain the problem clearly. To avoid negative perceptions, the company may respond quickly to your problem.

You could contact your local media’s call for action line.

On Monday I got scam from the IRS they made me buy some iTunes cards 6 of them $500 each I gave them $3000
So iTunes it's not doing nothing about all these scamming is there a way we can sue iTunes ? For all these that is happening

But it's not ITunes fault, they aren't responsible.

My husband was taken for $4000.00 in iTunes gift cards. Scammer were threatening him over the phone. He was scared and not thinking straight. No chance in getting our money back said the police.

Omg how sad I had never heard about these before that's why I was so confused and the bad think is that I was by myself nobody to talk to

Yeah, my husband fell for this yesterday, got the message, figured he'd "handle it". $1800 in ITunes gifts cards, they got 3 of the 4 cards cashed before my husband was able to get to Apple. Hopefully because he used the American Express card and they are launching a fraud investigation, maybe we won't owe that on our credit card. And he IS still alive but I could kill him especially since we get probably 2 of those messages a week and I have told my husband previously to leave the answering machine alone since he listens to messages, doesn't write them down and then forgets to tell me. I also have worked for attorneys my whole life and was AT my office yesterday when he decided to go ahead and buy those cards because of the threat of being arrested. The worst part? I was laid off from a 15 year job with an attorney because the IRS had levied his bank account my paycheck came out of, then levied what he thought was an unknown account. I used to tell my husband all the time about the agent coming to the office, about the bank levies, the registered mail. Yet he went ahead and caved to some jerk on the phone and didn't even call me. I could kill him.

Since this scam has been going on for years using iTunes cards. One would think that Apple with all of their computer skills would be able to set up a program to monitor any large consecutive redeems into an account. 2k, 4k, 10k redeems in a matter of minutes. Not normal and they should be able to be flagged as suspicions.

Retailers should also have warning signs telling of these scams posted where these types of cards are sold to help protect the consumer. Speaking from my own account of being scammed for $4000.00 going for another $6000.00 when the manager of the seconds store came out and told me of the scam.

She made it a policy on her own to get managers approval on any large gift card purchases. When speaking with corporate I said she should be commended and asked why this was not a corporate policy at all stores. Find it hard to believe that Apple cannot trace the money or I.P.s of these scammers. They have to lead somewhere.

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

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

Bridget, do you work for the FTC? If so, could you please contact me? I am an attorney in NJ. Thank you.

This page explains how to contact the FTC.

My sister works in administration of a large well known pharmacy. These cards are sold there.

They post signs advising people of scams.
They verbally warn them of scams when people purchase larger amounts.

Most of them do not listen and have a "what do you know" attitude before hanging themselves anyway.
Stupid is often engrained and not so easily cured....

Advance Cash America sent me an email talking about I owed them 986 dollars from August 2013. I sent in an email saying I would pay 200 they wanted an iTunes gift card from Apple their partner company. I could not pay so they sent an email talking about they was going to file a lawsuit against me for small claims court they have emails that I had sent saying I would pay. Now they sent another email talking about they will seize my bank account. And sue me. I sent another email trying to make arrangements. A few hours later I looked at my bank statement there company was not on it.

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

Please file a complaint with the FTC at

My 85 year old mother was scammed for $4,000. I young man called her, claiming to be her grandson (my son) and said that he was in the Dominican Republic and that he was in trouble. He begged her not to tell me (his mother)and that he needed the money right away because he had been in an accident. My mother, being a kind person, helped out her "grandson" to the tune of $4000 to a scammer. He said he needed the money in itunes cards.

People beware that there are low life scumbags out there preying on kind, old people claiming to be loved-ones in need.

Apple needs to step up to the plate and reimburse every single one of the people that have been ripped off by this scam! Apple is a multi-billion dollar corp and should be held liable for not putting better controls on their products - especially after there have been several hundreds (if not thousands) of complaints.

My mother has spoken with an Apple rep and the local law enforcement (and has a case number). So, she is taking the necessary steps she needs. Apple needs to also start taking necessary steps to keep this fraud from hurting individuals and protect those who do not ways and means to recover from this loss.

This isn't Apple's responsibility. This is happening with all gift cards. Don't blame one company for something that isn't their fault. It's the system of gift cards and people who fall for it without "thinking" about how silly the situation is.

It is their responsibility to warn, and not in nearly invisible print on the back of a card. They should warn in legible print and iTunes should provide a large sign to all vendors who sell the iTunes cards.

So if someone runs a scam using United States Postal Service money orders would you blame the USPS for not stepping up to the plate and reimbursing people?

I just got scammed buy Facebook contractor saying they can reactivate my account for 200$ but only through itune card. Still not back on. Bastards

Person that posted several messages ago is correct store does not refund on prepaid cards. We have a sign warning customers of scams but people are notorious for not reading what they buy. We have started asking customers when they buy iTunes cards if they know the person they are sending to and we tell them of the scams going on. Sometimes they listen and thank us a few claim they know what they are doing and buy them anyway.

There are a lot of complaints from people who state the vendors of the cards should be responsible for the fact they got suckered. They complain there should be "protections".

There are "protections". It's called common sense. The vendors are not the ones at fault. Period.

i was contacted by a loan company after i filled out a pay day loan on tapjoy, he had all my info including ss and bank info, said i qualified for a loan up to 10k i said i can use 3000. he said there is an insurance co that will guarantee loan since there is no cosigner, its at 6% interest, 24 month loan and it cost $160 to be paid by itunes, i asked why itunes he said because its instant . i checked into them more, they have a website pbc bank, pbcloans.. is this legit?

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

Same here in NJ approved 5000 dollar loan but they need $250 I tunes card to cover fdic insurance I case I default on payment

I just got scammed 1.400.00 can any one help me how I get this money refund

You could contact Apple Customer Support. They may be able to help you get a refund from the retail card seller when funds are still on the cards. Apple Customer Support may ask you to provide a police report and other documents, like a receipt for the cards. Apple may not make refunds directly, but may refer you back to the retailer, and work to contact the retailer about a refund.

Please report your experience to the FTC at The details you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I was scammed out of 2000.00 and I was let go from my job recently. I don't get benefits other than my small retirement from my last job. My daughter of 25 warned me and showed me evidence that this was a scam. I didn't listen till I paid so much money. She even called them and asked for what branch of the us government and they said the treasury and gave a email that my daughter saw as a fake immediately. Sadly some of that money she loaned me and she can barely afford it due to her going through nursing school. Now I might loose everything I worked for and very soon. I can't even afford to take a lain out nor could I get one due to not able to pay it off. I am worried and my future is bleak. I don't know what to do.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Please go to to report this. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

In addition, when it comes to dealing with debt, you have options. Find out what you can do, and get tips for avoiding scams. Please see the FTC articles, Coping with Debt and Choosing a Credit Counselor.

Unfortunately i became victim of this today. Is there a way to block the itunes card number that i gave them to over phone. I already reported this incident Federal Trade commission

You could contact Apple Customer Support. They may be able to help you get a refund from the retail card seller when funds are still on the cards. Apple Customer Support may ask you to provide a police report and other documents, like a receipt for the cards. Apple may not make refunds directly, but may refer you back to the retailer, and work to contact the retailer about a refund.

I got a similar call from a 911 number and then a genuine IRS number, he himself showed me the # on IRS website. I was not aware that the IRS would never call. Then he trapped me to walk out of my workplace drive my car to an address he gave. The address was bestbuy and then he told me I need to buy apple gift cards. I was so much into all of it, my brain was blocked and I did not realize this was a scam. I brought the gift cards blindly just so that I wanted to stay away from legal complications. I have lost a huge amount($8000). I feel stupid and I seriously want these scammers arrested so that people who work hard every single day are not ripped off.

I got a phone call today saying that they were from Microsoft and I had errors and warnings that needed to be removed from my computer and how my computer network was compromised by hackers. It was a Scam. They said I need to go get a $200 itunes card to pay for computer network protection for 3 years which cost 199.00. I did not do it!! The call came from Washington the number is 206-430-5057. I spoke with Larry Lee and Ron. I am sure these are all fake names! Please be careful!!!


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