Phone Scammers Asking For iTunes Gift Cards as Payment

Phone scammers are a devious bunch and they use a variety of tactics to trick vulnerable people into giving them money and personal information.

Often, phone scammers will attempt to panic a victim into paying by claiming that the victim owes money for taxes, fines, utility bills, or other unexpected fees. The scammers may be very threatening and may even claim that the victim will be arrested and jailed if payment is not made.

In other cases, the scammers may claim that the victim has won a lottery or is eligible for a tax refund or a large cash grant from a government agency or other organisation. But, the scammers will claim that the victim must pay various fees upfront before the funds can be sent to them.

In many cases, the scammers demand that the victim provide credit card details to make the supposed payments. Alternatively, they may instruct the victim to go out and purchase a pre-paid debit card and then call back with the card details.

And, increasingly, scammers are insisting that victims provide iTunes Gift Card codes as a means of payment.

Here’s how the iTunes Gift Card scams generally play out:

1: The victim gets a call from a scammer who invents a cover story like those mentioned above and warns that the victim must make an immediate payment or face dire consequences.

2: The scammer insists that the victim pays with iTunes Gift Cards and instructs him or her to hang up, go out and buy some of the cards at the nearest retail outlet, and then call back.

3: When the victim calls back, the scammer will ask for the 16-digit code on the back of the iTunes cards.

4: The scammer can then use the card code to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.

Scammers are using this method because iTunes Gift Card purchases cannot be easily traced back to offenders. If victims pay using the cards, it will usually be impossible for them to get their money back.

Keep in mind that iTunes Gift Cards can ONLY be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.

Any call that wants you to pay a supposed debt or fine using an iTunes card is certain to be a scam.  No legitimate entity will ever ask that you make a payment using iTunes Gift Cards.  If you receive such a call, just hang up.

Apple has published information about these scams on its website.

Note that scammers may sometimes demand that people pay with other types of store gift cards as well as iTunes cards.


People familiar with computers and the Internet may find it difficult to understand how anyone could fall for a scam that demanded payment via iTunes Gift Cards.

But, keep in mind that there are still many people who do not have a computer at home and have only a rudimentary knowledge of the Internet and online payment systems.

They will no doubt have seen displays of iTunes Gift Cards in various stores without having any real understanding of what the cards are actually for. So, a clever phone scammer may be able to easily convince them that the iTunes cards are a new and safe way to make payments over the phone.

If you have less tech-savvy relatives, friends, or neighbours who you think may be vulnerable to such scams you may want to take a few minutes to bring them up to speed.

Fraudsters are emptying bank accounts by diverting calls and text messages | Action Fraud

Fraudsters are stealing large sums of money from victim’s bank accounts by taking control of their mobile phones and intercepting calls/texts messages sent by banks.

Fraudsters are once again gathering as much information as possible on victims and using a method we have warned the public about in the past called SIM splitting, to gain access to people’s bank accounts.

A recent This is Money investigation found that one victim from London lost £22,300 when fraudsters raided their Santander accounts using this method. Another two victims had £19,500 drained from their Santander accounts after criminals intercepted the bank’s text messages.

Source: Fraudsters are emptying bank accounts by diverting calls and text messages | Action Fraud

Fraudsters use hold music in bid to convince unsuspecting banking customers | Action Fraud

The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified that fraudsters are now using background hold music in a bid to make their calls more convincing.Organised crime groups are attempting to defraud members of the public by impersonating the customer’s bank and according to a convicted fraudster the methods used by them are evolving. The NFIB has been made aware that fraudsters are now using background music, similar to that used by the bank, when the customer is put on hold. The fraudsters use this music as an attempt to convince the customer that the call is genuinely from the bank.

Source: Fraudsters use hold music in bid to convince unsuspecting banking customers | Action Fraud

Alert: Watch out for council tax scam

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) proactive intelligence team is warning people of a new approach being used by scammers to carry-out vishing scams. Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance; the payment they ask for varies between £60-350. The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone.

Source: Alert: Watch out for council tax scam

Cold Caller ‘Home Loss’ Threat Warning – Safe In Warwickshire

Retired homeowners are warned to beware of unexpected phone calls from sales people who are using scare tactics and claiming that the Government can take their home. These callers may attempt to give the impression that they are legally trained solicitors and that their services are free of charge.

Source: Cold Caller ‘Home Loss’ Threat Warning – Safe In Warwickshire

Protect yourself against pension scams: The Pensions Regulator

Thousands of people have lost their life savings after falling for a pension scam. Don’t be next.

Read our ten steps to protect your pension.

You can also watch our video and download a booklet to help give yourself the best possible protection against the pension scammers.

Understand the risks of early pension release via pension loans or transfer schemes. Who to contact if you’ve received offers to cash in your pension.

Source: Pension scams | pension loans & transfers | The Pensions Regulator

On The 10th Day Of Christmas Safe In Warwickshire Gave To Me Advice on Spam and Scam Email – Safe In Warwickshire

In this article we will look at three types of email you need to be aware of…… Spam Email, Scam Email and Phishing Emails. Below is more information on what all three types are and how …

Source: On The 10th Day Of Christmas Safe In Warwickshire Gave To Me Advice on Spam and Scam Email – Safe In Warwickshire

Stand Against Scams

Stand Against Scams_edited

Nuneaton & Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association (N&BNWA) has pledged its support to a trading standards initiative aimed at tackling scams and encouraging victims to come forward, after figures showed 95% of such crimes go unreported.

They joined forces with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)) and the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team as part of the Stand Against Scams campaign.

N&BNWA  joins other elected officials and community leaders, across the UK, who have signed up to become a #scambassador who will each lead the fight against criminals in their communities.

Brian Lowe, speaking on behalf of N&BNWA said: “Many of us will fall victim to a scam at some point in our lives so it is essential that action is taken against scammers that often target the most vulnerable and elderly people in our community. “I would urge anyone that has been the victim of a scam to report it to the authorities to make sure that these criminals are dealt with appropriately and they cannot use their tactics on anyone else again.”

Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: “About £52 billion is lost to scams every year and while it is often society’s most vulnerable it is important to remember that anyone can fall victim. The impact is often heart-breaking and we know of people who have lost their life savings or even re-mortgaged their homes after becoming a repeated target.”

Louise Baxter, manager of the NTS Scams Team, said: “The tactics used by scammers leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. “I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our #scambassador network which is already starting to grow.”

The average age of a scam victim is 74 but according to Action Fraud 53 per cent of people aged 65 or older have been targeted, with some known to have re-mortgaged their homes to cover loses.   Last month, a 90 year-old woman3 from Sutton was conned out of £60,000 in a decade-long postal scam which started when the victim ordered make-up advertised in a mail order catalogue. Meanwhile, a Lincoln pensioner4 has recently thanked trading standards for their help in preventing her from being scammed out of hundreds of pounds after she responded to scam mail.

Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a scam call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

How to avoid falling victim to fraudsters | Money | The Guardian


Increasingly sophisticated scams have emerged and evolved over the past decade. If you have elderly parents or vulnerable friends, share this article with them

Source: How to avoid falling victim to fraudsters | Money | The Guardian