Last November, we asked the question, “Why do scammers like iTunes gift cards so much?” While having the best Farmville farm was a far-out idea, one answer was surprisingly close: They’re buying their own apps. However, we were off on one detail: They aren’t buying apps, they’re creating apps. According to one ex-scammer, his company was spending the iTunes money on in-app purchases from apps they had developed. Scam companies partner up with app companies to take those stolen iTunes gift card funds and turn them into real money.
As far as schemes go, it’s pretty impressive. Who would’ve thought Candy Crush could be a poster child for fraud? While the apps they use aren’t mainstream like Candy Crush, it is still worrisome. As of June 2017, 180 BILLION apps had been downloaded from the App Store. Since the apps created seemingly adhere to the App Store guidelines, it’s nearly impossible to tell how many are helping benefit these fraudulent companies.
The scammers don’t even get the actual card – all they receive is the number from the back of the card to use. Even still, they could be selling those card numbers online at discount prices to consumers. This has become an increasingly popular way to buy gift cards. Instead of buying them at full price, many people sell unwanted gift cards online cheaper than the actual value of the cards. It seems like a good deal now, but you could be paying directly into the hands of a scammer. The only way to avoid that for certain is to buy directly from the iTunes store.
It’s not a surprise that scammers chose iTunes gift cards to center their scams around; they’re readily available in a variety of stores across the country. What is surprising is how they’ve figured out a way to launder that money through a seemingly legitimate source. Remember that companies will never accept “alternate” forms of cash as payment, so if the IRS has you heading to the closest 7-11 for an iTunes gift card, think twice about the legitimacy of the call.
Download PrivacyStar for iOS or Android to block known scammers for free.