SCSO warns of iTunes gift card scam

Published 10:29 am Thursday, March 28, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is warning locals to be aware of a rapidly growing scam involving Apple iTunes gift cards, and is encouraging those who have been targeted by the scam to notify Apple.

Through the scam, a caller often demands immediate payment for items such as hospital bills, back taxes, bail money, debit or utility bills, and asks the victim to put the money on iTunes gift cards and then share the cards’ codes with the caller.

“Here’s another scam we have seen recently in our area,” read a post on the SCSO Facebook page. “A big red flag with this scam and most is the scammer will use high-pressure tactics to scare you into sending money or gift cards.”

According to information from Apple, the scams are committed “using many methods,” including demanding payments via Apple App Store and iTunes gift cards or Apple Store Gift Cards.

“Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula: The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment by purchasing App Store and iTunes Gift Cards or Apple Store Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the code(s) on the back of the card with the caller over the phone,” according to Apple. “It’s important to know that App Store and iTunes Gift Cards can be used only to purchase goods and services from the iTunes Store, App Store, Apple Books, for an Apple Music subscription or for iCloud storage. Apple Store Gift Cards can be redeemed only on the Apple Online Store and at Apple Retail Stores. If you’re approached to use the cards for any other payment, you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it to your local police department as well as the Federal Trade Commission at”

Apple also is encouraging those who believe they have been the target of a scam involving iTunes or Apple Store gift cards to call the company at 800-275-2273 and say “gift cards” when prompted.