Watch Out For Fraudulent ITunes Purchases, Whether You Have An ITunes Account Or Not

MyFox New York notes that some people are being hit with fraudulent charges on their bank accounts from the iTunes Music Store, or in some cases from a fake iTunes store. Earlier this month, a reader wote to us with a similar complaint:

I woke up this morning to an email stating I had made two $50 gift card purchases [on iTunes Music Store]. I contacted my bank and apple, then did a google search and found that many others had the same thing happen to them.

Over on GetSatisfaction, there’s a long thread about fraudulent iTunes charges, but no clear answer about what’s going on. In fact, some people seem to be getting hit with charges on their credit cards from a fake APL*ITUNES business even if they don’t have iTunes accounts, while others who do have iTunes accounts receive receipts via email for real gift card purchases that they didn’t make.

One person says his bank told him that it’s become a common enough fraud attempt for them that they flag all iTunes purchases. He’s in Australia, but the complaints on GetSatisfaction are from customers around the world.

I’m from Australia and received a call today from my bank asking if I had made a $1.00 purchase with Apl Itunes with my card. When I said no, she said she would immediately decline the charge and said that I should also immediately cancel my card. She further said that there is an organized crime element that make $1.00 purchases on Apl Itunes with fraudulently obtained card numbers. If the charge isn’t disputed by the cardholder then the criminals “get to work” making bigger purchases with the card number. Apparently it has become such a big problem my Bank specifically filter out all $1.00 card transactions for Apl Itunes and contact the cardholder within a few hours.

Here’s another person’s story from last summer:

Chalk me up as another victim. haven’t used my itunes account to ever purchase. I set it up with a new Ipod 3 years ago. I had 4 Charges $103, $103, $51.50 and $51.50 all for “APL*ITUNES and the 800 number. Which when you call is just the recording.

I called my bank and canceled the card. Can’t dispute as it’s still pending. I also called the real Apple number. The CSR reported that my card had been used to purchase 4 gift cards and then provided me with the email address they were sent to which is not my email address. My Card number was not stored in the apple store so how they got it baffles me.

Here’s the Fox news story. Fox points out that nobody really knows who’s behind the charges or how to stop them. Our advice is the same as ever: monitor your accounts closely, and when you see a suspicious charge call your bank immediately to dispute it, and to initiate anti-fraud measures if necessary.

(You can read the transcript of the video segment at the link below.)

“Scammers Use iTunes to Drain Bank Accounts?” [MyFox New York]
“Apl.itunes has taken money from my account and I never ordered anything.” [GetSatisfaction] (Thanks to db!)