The IRS And The Cops Do Not Really Take Payment In iTunes Gift Cards Over The Phone

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

It’s easy to say that you’d never fall for a phone scam: everyone who really has fallen for a scam probably would have said the same thing before it happened to them. Yet one way to protect people from scams is to spread a very simple message among the people you know and love who are less savvy about the Internet and about scams than you are. Tell them that no matter what anyone on the phone says, neither jails nor the IRS accepts iTunes gift cards as a form of payment.

Yes, this is an alarmingly common scam: just a few months ago we shared the story of a grandmother who sent $10,000 worth of iTunes gift cards to help bail him out of jail. Her grandson wasn’t really in jail, but the man pretending to be his attorney was convincing, and called back twice asking for more money.

While wiring money and using prepaid debit card numbers are also popular methods for transferring lots of money very quickly out of scam victims’ wallets, for some reason iTunes cards have become a hot new currency. It probably isn’t because scammers are suddenly into digital music, but because the codes are easy to re-sell for cash.

If you or someone you know has sent iTunes gift card codes to a scammer, the first thing you should do is contact iTunes support to let them know that the cards are part of a fraudulent transaction.

You should also tell the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s attorney general anything that you know about the scammers, to help them shut these outfits down.

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