Scam and Nuisance

Why Do Scammers Like iTunes Gift Cards So Much?

By November 6, 2017 No Comments

When it comes to getting paid, scammers will take whatever they can get. They’re looking for a quick and easy pay out that’s almost impossible to undo. That’s why Western Union transfers and Visa gift cards are such a popular “payment” option. But after watching this video, we can’t help but wonder…why do they like iTunes gift cards so much?

A wire transfer makes sense, because they’re getting cold hard cash. Visa gift cards can be spent on anything. iTunes gift cards can only be used…on iTunes. So why do these scammers love them so much? We investigate:

  1. They owe back taxes on their FarmVille. Face it, growing and harvesting those crops is pricey, and once the beloved Facebook app came to mobile it got even easier to buy those fake coins. Perhaps they’re just trying to max out their Farm and move to the city (where they take a whole new kind of coin at 99¢ a pop).
  2. They’re determined to own every Taylor Swift song, ever. And every song she’s ever written. And every song she’s ever listened to. $7,000 worth of iTunes cards would certainly buy a LOT of T-Swift.
  3. They’re catching up on all of the Fast & the Furious movies. There are a lot of those, right? Seems like that would be costly to buy all of them.
  4. They’re addicted to ringtones. Like, “I bought the 256 gig iPhone X and it’s already 95% ringtones” addicted.
  5. They’re buying their own app. Build app. Charge $100 for it. Buy it with scammed iTunes cards, make profit, repeat.
  6. They think Apple is the next big currency. Think about it – it’s not that far fetched to believe Apple could take over the world with iTunes gift cards. You can buy those things everywhere. Are they on to the next Bitcoin? Probably not, but it’s a theory.

In all seriousness, there are a few reasons a scammer might choose iTunes cards over the alternative. In the video above, the scammer asks for the number and the pin so he can either check or activate the card right away – they don’t need the physical card to use it, just the number. Once it’s in their hands, there’s nothing you can do to get that money back. It’s untraceable, instant, and as we joked in #5, available widely throughout the world. It’s unlikely they’re saving all of that money for books and movies; they’re probably selling the cards at a discount and making cash that way. With over 700 MILLION iPhone users in the world, it’s about as close to universal currency as you can get.

In fact, this problem is running so rampant that Apple released their own warning about gift card scams. Their point is clear: iTunes gift cards are only valid in the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music Membership. If you’re paying for anything else, there’s no reason for them to ask for payment in iTunes cards.

If you ever get a call like this, make sure you report it to the FTC. Scammers don’t deserve to play unlimited iPhone games on your dime.

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