Apple Warns of Gift Card Scam
Apple is warning consumers that fraudsters are using iTunes gift cards in a scam to trick victims into making payments over the phone. In a notice posted on its Website, Apple said the scam involves victims being called and then being pressured to transfer money over the phone to pay for a bogus claim of an unpaid bill or debt, or a relative who needs to be bailed out of jail. From there, the victim is instructed to purchase an iTunes gift card from a retail location, and then share the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the scammer over the phone. Fraudsters then redeem the code themselves or sell it online.
“It’s important to know that iTunes gift cards can be used only to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership,” Apple’s notice said. Consumers asked to use the cards to make other types of payments should immediately report it to their local police department as well as the Federal Trade Commission, the company advised.
Gift cards have played a role in several recent scams, including a fraud ring broken up earlier this year in Louisville, Ky., where nine people were arrested. Members of the ring allegedly stole goods from retailers, returned the merchandise for gift cards, then sold the cards for cash—garnering more than $100,000 from the scam, according to authorities.