How to Identify & Avoid iTunes Credit Card Scam in 2020.
iTunes credit card scam: Crooks have found a way to charge your iTunes account, set up an account that is connected to your card, or are spoofing iTunes charges on your account. The scheme is so effective because many people don’t even notice that they’re being robbed.
How is that possible? Because the crooks start off taking small amounts, which in some cases, could be easily overlooked by someone not closely checking their card statements.
The unauthorized charge may look like this — “APL*ITUNES.CON/BILL 866-712-7753 CA”
Spotting a Fraudulent iTunes Charge
Here’s the tricky thing about iTunes fraud: It’s happening to people who have an iTunes account and also to those who don’t. Users with iTunes accounts may have charges that actually go through their iTunes account. In this instance, the fraudster has hacked into the iTunes account and purchased apps, games, music, books, or other items.
It is possible to have fraudulent charges which have been spoofed to make them look like iTunes charges. You can spot this type of fraudulent charge by going to your iTunes account and checking to see if there’s a purchase that corresponds to the charge you see on your online checking or credit card account.
If there are no charges on your iTunes account in the amount you see on your bank statement, it’s likely your credit card itself has been compromised. You’ll need to dispute those charges and, most likely, have a new card issued.2
Thieves can also use stolen credit card information that they’ve phished or purchased on the internet and connect the details to an iTunes account.34 In this case, you’ll see iTunes charges on your credit card account but no purchases in your iTunes account.
What to Check Before You Report Fraudulent Charges
Before you call your bank or Apple to report the charges from the iTunes credit card scam, make sure they’re actually fraudulent. If you have other devices connected to your iTunes account, a child’s iPad for example, it’s possible that they’ve accidentally (or purposely, without understanding the consequences) made purchases on their device. Kids often make these in-app purchases by tapping a button for more coins or to unlock parts of a game.
What to Do About Fraudulent Charges
If you notice an authorization or charges from APL*ITUNES for transactions that you didn’t make, contact your bank immediately. It may take some time to resolve the charges, but the sooner you contact your bank, the quicker you’ll cut off the fraudsters’ access to your funds.
How to dispute an iTunes charge
If you see an unauthorized charge on iTunes, you can dispute it. Here’s how:
The iTunes gift card scam has been around since the mid-2000s when Apple introduced gift card for the iTunes store, which it later expanded to all its stores under its current official name of “App Store & iTunes Gift Cards.”
There are several variations of this scam, but the vast majority follow the same loose pattern.
Scammers call a victim citing an urgent and time-sensitive scenario that requires a payment for things like taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection, and utility bills. They urge victims to buy an iTunes gift card from a local retailer and pass the card’s serial code and its PIN to the scammer as proof of payment.
How the Scam Works
Most of the scam’s targets are the elderly who may not be aware that iTunes and Apple Store gift cards can only be used on Apple stores and nowhere else — such as paying bills or taxes in the real world.
The “scam” is that by the time victims realize this small detail, the scammer has already used the gift cards’ funds. Scammed funds are typically laundered in various ways, but three methods are often encountered:
The scammer uses funds to buy an Apple device (Mac, iPhone, iPad, or other), which it later resells to gain access to real-world fiat currency.
The scammer uses the funds to buy perks or digital currency in an app or game they have set up, creating real-world profits for a company they owned or have partnered with.
Scammer resells the gift card code and PIN to other criminals.
Tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam
If you are NOT purchasing an item from Apple — such as from the Apple Store, iTunes Store, App Store, Apple Books, for an Apple Music subscription or iCloud storage — do NOT make a payment with an App Store & iTunes Gift Card or Apple Store Gift Card. There’s no other instance in which you’ll be asked to make a payment with either of these gift cards.
Do not provide the numbers on the back of the gift card to anyone that you don’t know.
Immediately report potential scams to your local authorities (police department, trade commission, etc.).