May 10, 2016
By Amy Hebert
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
One thing we know about scammers –they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money—and nearly impossible for you to get it back.
Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose as a family member or online love interest who needs your help fast. But as soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.
If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with and iTunes gift card. Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like Money Pak, 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.
If you get targeted by a scam like this, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Want to know more about avoiding scams? Read 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-ways-avoid-fraud