Scammers Target iPhone Craze

As you wait in line to get your hands on an iPhone 7, you kill time by scrolling through the App Store to see what newest app craze you’ve been missing out on, and then play a few rounds of Angry Birds on your iPhone.

Just when you’re about to collect your 26th golden egg, your phone rings and an “agent” from the IRS warns you that there’s a warrant out for your arrest due to an outstanding balance that you must pay immediately in regards to your 2014 taxes.

You’re caught off guard because:

  1. You were so close to grabbing that last egg so you could claim Angry Birds domination
  2. You’ve now lost your spot in line to be one of the cool kids with an iPhone 7
  3. What did they say? A warrant out for your arrest?!

Then, before you know it, it all sinks in, as the word “arrest” reverberates in your head. You ask the “agent” how you can resolve this as quickly as possible. They tell you all you need to do is buy a few iTunes gift cards to make the payments and you’re in the clear.

What? Gift card payments? If you’re getting that sketchy feeling, don’t ignore it! Apple, the FTC and IRS have been warning consumers of this absurd, yet growing spam, that many have fallen victim to.

Just like your credit card, scammers are trying to steal your iTunes gift card’s 16-digit code on the back of the card. Treat your card just like any other type of personal information and don’t share it with anyone. As soon as those numbers are given to a scammer, it’ll be a free-for-all for them to spend the precious amount you had been saving to spend on Led Zeppelin’s remastered 1997 BBC Sessions Collection.

“If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card,” warns Amy Herbert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC. “Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Government offices won’t require you to use these payment methods.”

Apple also reminds consumers that their gift cards can only be used to purchase products and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for any Apple Music Membership.

So, the next time you have a scammer that puts your Apple shopping spree on the line, hang-up immediately and report the call to Apple and the FTC.

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