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iTunes Gift Cards favoured by fraudsters

5th August 2016

Victims have handed over approximately £520k to fraudsters who have asked for payment using iTunes Gift Cards, since May 2016.

iTunes is an online media player developed by Apple and used to organise and access music, films and TV programmes. Apple offer iTunes Gift Cards for sale which can be redeemed on the iTunes Store and various other Apple services.

Over the past few months fraudsters have been tricking victims into buying iTunes Gift Cards and asking them to read out/send the serial code for payment in various types of fraud. 

The fraudsters don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and once the code is sent, the money is lost. There has been a total reported loss of approximately £520k since May 2016, highlighting a lack of awareness.

iTunes Gift Cards used in various types of fraud

Action Fraud have seen this method of payment being used in types of fraud which include; Loan Scams, fake mis-sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) and various banking errors. 

Additionally there has been a trend in fraudsters pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and asking for payment of debt/taxes using this method. One victim recently reported losing £46k to fraudsters who asked for payment using in iTunes Gift Cards.  

Here is what Apple say: “iTunes Gift Cards are solely for the purchase of goods and services on the iTunes Store and App Store. Should you receive a request for payment using iTunes Gift Cards outside of iTunes and the App Store please report it to Action Fraud”.

Confusing victims with reference about Apple Pay

In some cases fraudsters may refer to Apple Pay as a way to explain or legitimise this payment method.  iTunes Gift Cards are not the same as Apple Pay, which is a means of making contactless payment linked to credit cards, store credit cards and rewards cards.

Individuals who received an unexpected call in which the caller requests an advance fee in the form of an iTunes gift cards (or via a Money Service Bureau) should terminate the call and report it to us.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

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