August 11th 2016
Since 2016, victims of fraud have handed over approximately £520,000 to fraudsters who have asked for payment using iTunes Gift Cards, according to figures issued by Action Fraud this week.
Apple’s online media player, is used to organise and access music, films and TV programmes. Apple offers 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 do not need the physical card to redeem the value and once the code is sent, the money is lost. Total losses of around £520,000 have been reported since May.
Types of fraud perpetrated
Action Fraud has seen this method of payment being used in types of fraud which include; Loan Scams, fake PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) mis-selling claims and various banking scams.
There has also been a trend in fraudsters pretending to be from HMRC and asking for payment of debt/taxes using iTunes Gift Cards. One victim recently reported losing £46,000 to fraudsters who asked for payment using the method.
According to Apple: “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.”
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.
If you receive 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), you should terminate the call and report it to Action Fraud.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool.