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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 an iTunes gift card. 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.

If you get targeted by a scam like this, report it to the FTC at

Want to know more about avoiding scams? Read How to Avoid a Scam

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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June 26, 2018

In reply to by Fishandchips

Kendrick Cot, is the name my scammer is going by, sweet talker using stolen identity and pictures.
August 19, 2018

In reply to by Fishandchips

This sounds like the chap who has been communicating with me for just over a month. Friendship request on fb followed by messages. Then lovely caring emails which I was stupid enough to believe until he asked me to purchase a 200 iPhone card so he could upgrade his phone. I told him I couldn't afford it as only income was pension. So then he asked for 100 iPhone card instead. Alarm bells ringing I emailed him to say I would not use Amazon or eBay as someone had tried to hack in to my account shortly after accepting his friendship request. Needless to say I haven't heard from him since.
August 27, 2018

In reply to by Ozzie

Your scammer is exactly like mine. He said he needs iTunes cards to upgrade his phone every week. He sends Romantic love messages every morning and night. He then talks about the future and kids. Then said he can’t wait to marry me after his lawsuit. He can’t call me because hackers would track him and his line can be trace. So we only texted through His Google Voice Number and Hangout Apps, which Google doesn’t want to help. There are so many victims got scam through google. Hangout App is a Dating Scam App for scammers to use. I believed him and sent him substantial amounts through bank wiring, Walmart money transfer. Can FBI track ITunes Cards that already used by Scammers? FBI can do more about this, they have a system to utilize it. They need to start working harder and start putting these guys in JAIL.
August 28, 2018

In reply to by Mercy

I’ve gotten non stop messages on instagram. Original request came on Instagram and eventually led to Kik. Never shared my phone number nor any identifying information. His name is Kendrick Miguel Johnson, but started the conversation as his name just being Johnson. I’ve done google image reverse searches but none of his photos come up. Thinking it’s a scam because he offered to send money for the home I’m building but needed a steam card and ITunes card at $100 each to pay for a credit card that he’d put money on. I did not buy any of course but he touched on the gift cards every few conversations. I have photos of him... he’s advised he’s in construction but also owns a gym in Beverly Hills CA that his father left him. The name of the company is JSC Construction and his photos with his work shirt/attire reflect what he’s telling me.
September 16, 2018

In reply to by Mashuun

I'm dealing with the guy says his name is Nick Patrick Scott Malone age 52 single dad with a daughter age 12. He says he's an only child and both his parents are deceased. He says he's an engineer and he had to go to Germany for work for two weeks and it up going into 3 weeks claiming that he is sending a box of money that was found in a tunnel where they were working, and that he needed my email address to get the notice from the private FedEx. I received an email which I did not open, that said that there is something there for me a package and that I need to verify my full name and address in order to have it delivered. I contacted FedEx they said they investigated and there was no package for me. When I confronted supposedly Nick he said that is because it is a private FedEx and they do things differently. I researched him and checked all data bases including purchasing Intelius which gives you information on people phone numbers Etc. He is nowhere in any database. He had me buy two separate times, iTune cards at $100 each. Something about, to help set up his phone. I was not aware how to use iTune cards and that it doesn't do that. after doing all my research I've asked him several times for his driver's license because when I asked him for his address the first time he gave me a bogus one that went to a Chase Bank near my home, and the second one to some place that was a trailer manufacturer home that was full of junk and crap everywhere. I went up to the place and talk to the kid who lived there and asked if Nick was there or his daughter he said nobody's there by this name and then told me what his last name is which I checked in the Intelius database which the kid was telling me the truth. I immediately went to the sheriff department and filed this information. I'm continuing talking to this person because I want to catch him! I said I need to speak to his daughter who lives here in the states. I sent him a picture of the Junkie property that I was at that he claimed was his address that he gave me, which supposedly he lives in a big house which he still has a mortgage with his daughter. Last night I asked for his daughter's phone number so I could talk to her, I never got it this morning he said he fell asleep, and he gave me a phone number and said this is his daughter's number to call her now. I put that number into the database Intelius, come to find out that number belongs to a deceased man that died in 1999. I'm hoping with the iTune cards, that the police department or whoever does investigations will be able to track who cashed or use those serial numbers. Does anybody know if that's fact can they track somebody by cashing in or using those numbers?
October 09, 2018

In reply to by Mercy

I just got asked by a man supposedly in the U. S. Army, serving in Syria. He wants me to by the orphans candy, buy him a military watch, pack of t-shirts and a ITunes card so he can use it to upgrade his phone. He wants me to buy him a iPhone on a account and will take over the payments when he comes back to the U.S. and meet me at the airport and get married. He's already calling me wifey. I did try to video chat with him on hangouts let night. He could see me and hear me. But I only saw a man talking who he says is him, but I can't hear him. Something is feeling off now. Yeah I fell in love and my heart hurts to be with him. He wanted chat via hangouts. Is it really a scam artist chat app? I don't know what do do know, I'm so upset and crying that he could possibly be another romance scammer. I've already caught 3 already. He says he's rich, has 3 cars, doesn't want my money but, buy me a iTunes card, black and white t-shirts a watch, candy. He says I couldn't here him on Hangouts, because something must be wrong with camera on his end. Is his picture for real? It's the same person who I video chatted with. But no voice was heard. I don't know what do do? Someone help me in the comments please
FTC Staff
November 13, 2018

In reply to by Susan85

This sounds like a scam. He wants you to spend money, and he says things that don't make sense. He can't use an iTunes card to upgrade a phone. US soldiers get uniforms and clothing - why is this guy asking you to send t-shirts? You said something feels off: trust your feelings and don't send money or iTunes cards.

Don't tell him your credit card or bank account number. Some scammers ask people to transfer money, or cash checks for them. If you get mixed up in that, you could lose money and personal information, and get into legal trouble.

December 07, 2018

In reply to by Susan85

I believe same guy is talking with me. Says he’s fighting in Syria, he’s with MPC, keeps wanting iTunes cards (lots of them), wanted me to be his wife, had a 13 year old daughter, that he’s widowed wife died of cancer, has a 5 bedroom house, has 2 luxurious cars, keeps saying he has to go out fighting then will be back. That he would teach me how to shoot to protect me & his daughter when he’s gone. That he lives in Chicago. And that when he comes back to states, he will come get me. Too many red flags, but didn’t see them until spent money on a few cards. He tells you anything you want to hear, charmer, sweet talker, ...too good to be true. Right?!
July 21, 2019

In reply to by Dana86

Who is this guy? what is his name? He sounds very familiar to one that I am talking with at the moment. The person I'm talking to goes by Joe Christopher, has a daughter who is in a boarding school and a son that is living with a nanny. He claims to have a five bedroom house in Chicago and multiple cars one of which is a Cadillac. He is not in the states, he claims to be on an oil rig and that he will be coming home soon to be with me. He has asked me for Amazon gift cards to buy internet service to his phone because he says that they are not allowed to phones there which I immediately saw red flags
February 20, 2019

In reply to by Susan85

Hi I’ve been going through the same situation this lady says she loves me amd Even sent me 80 dollars of food the other night just to show me she is serious about this relationship Than today she says that her Little girl is having a birthday and It would be cool if her new Daddy sent her something special go get her a iTunes gift card I say no I’ll fly out and Spend the weekend with the two of you she Says no she will be out here in March but send her the card so That the little girl has something to do on the trip out even sends me pictures I say I’m not comfortable doing that haven’t heard back yet but why does online dating that cost me money have to be like this it’s hard enough without the scammers to find someone who is on the level
April 01, 2019

In reply to by redryder67

Is this womans name amelie george and is she 30 years old from Charlotte north carolina. Is she asking for a steam card or iPhone gift card for her camera on her phone
Teddy bear
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Susan85

Don't fall it it is fake I been in that boat you was in I had a military man said the same thing and yes I fell for this man and thought I was in love and come to find out he was fake no military or army men need any of that it's a scam I'm sorry it happened but I know what you feel
December 07, 2018

In reply to by sparkle

His name is Carder Clarence
Don't use your…
January 16, 2019

In reply to by Mercy

Hi sounds like the same guy I'm chatting with on hangouts ...he needs I tune cards to up grade his phone for we can chatt ...I have bought I tunes card for him ..but he does not text me much after that...he is in Lagos nigeria..he said hes working now to get his flight ticket for he can return home to his kids...he from Florida..west palm beach he said..when he calls me he sounds like his phone is plugged into another devic... I hear clicking in the back ground hes says oh no its nothing... he gets mad very very easy when you tell him no he goes in a fit of rage and starts cussing me.....please if you dont mind could you tell me his name.
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Hi I am experiencing the same at the moment pretty much similar situation but mine he says hes a seaman working in Company oil after few days of chatin i was able to tell about my self including my personal stories etc and shared some photos of my house and after he gets to know everything hes acting like a bull now he is asking $100 iTunes card -at first I have really no idea what is it though I know what is iTunes but I discovered it in google cause he told me to search it then I found out this web here and I was shocked-now i am pretending to be NAIVE still communicating with him lol but I will do something to get him .His name Tyler Clements with the profile picture carrying his baby I have meet him on TAGGED just latstweek.
August 23, 2020

In reply to by marimar9312

I experienced something right now she asking me to buy her a steam card so we can video gut feelin tell me she is a fraud.bc i keep wanting to video chat her but she keep making the same today she want me to send her steam card so we can video chat.she lives in ghana she keep tellingbme she love love me and want to spend rest of her life with me.but every time i want to video chat she make some excuse saying they have poor connection or her family member has her today she want me to send her a steam card so we can video chat.i think something fishy here
March 04, 2019

In reply to by Fishandchips

I have been reading the comments I'm goin through the same thing but this guys name is david williams and meet on Instagram and now he is demanding a iTunes card for his phone to have data and today it was he needs an amazon card cause he locked it up but our stories sound so familiar
June 29, 2019

In reply to by ogansmorris

OMG, unbelievable. The guy reached me name David Williams. Is it the same person? God knows. That guy took many pictures of a western man and told me that’s him.
October 30, 2019

In reply to by Amy

I wonder if this is same guy trying to scam me. Can we post a picture of him?
October 30, 2019

In reply to by ogansmorris

This may be the same guy that’s contacting me is it possible to share pictures of this David William to see if he the same guy?
February 18, 2021

In reply to by vic

I’m having the same experience with a guy using the name Barry Emmerson I accepted his friendship thinking he was someone that new some of my friends. Then he told to download hangouts. Now is pushing for steam cards. He is madly in love with me and I keep telling him I’m married. I have been going a long with because I’m trying to find out how to catch him. He has a sad story and a 17 year old daughter he has to call. I told him to text her like he does me. He says she doesn’t use any social media, tell me what 17 year old doesn’t have any social media. He says he is on a ship in Auckland New Zealand as a Marin Engineer. I have not sent anything and don’t intend to I just want to catch him but don’t known how. I told him know one falls madly in love with someone in 8 days that he never met. Any idea how to catch this guy. I know he is using someone else’s picture.
August 09, 2018

In reply to by Lulu

What did his picture look like? I gave a similar person currently messaging me. Well built, military short hair style. Claims to be German but looks like a “in the movies, stereotypical ‘Russian’”. Says he’s on assignment over in another country. Saying he needs $50 iTunes card to keep his internet service up so we can continue to communicate/message each frustrating
May 11, 2019

In reply to by Andi

Wow mine say something that need either steam card or Amazon to stay online to chat with me
June 30, 2019

In reply to by Andi

I just talked to a guy who claimed to be German, living in Oregon, Russian type and sounded Russian on voice note. He appears as Bradscott_23. Met on Instagram, He told me a story about wanting to get to know me, etc and asked for the iTunes cards. Of course I blocked him right away!! Don’t believe this scammer!
July 11, 2019

In reply to by Blair

This sounds Very much like the one that’s currently trying to scam me at the moment
January 28, 2020

In reply to by Blair

Hi what if you had sent him photos can he. Say that there being in the public for prostitution or he can sell them ? He's from the army the guy i spoke too as well. I just wanna know what to do? He ask for a 100 itunes card tonight from me. His name is Bryan wills 37 years old .
August 04, 2020

In reply to by Blair

From Germany, has a daughter 17 years old. He says he has no friends(I wonder why). On an oil rig. Phone and internet service will be cut off if I don't give him 500 dollars in I tune cards. Needs more money. Smooth talker. Was raised in an Orphanage. Reading all these stories just now..I'm just another person who has been duped into an elaborate scheme. And I knew he was lying to me, I just kept on believing his lies. That and he was sweet.
September 17, 2018

In reply to by Lulu

I think we talked to the same guy he was from New York in the same place had son to he actually showed me a pic we talked for awhile then he asked for money then iTunes card I refused the next morning I tried to txt him and he completely disappeared no sign of him becareful
December 07, 2018

In reply to by Lulu

That sounds like the guy I'm talking to now he said his parents died when he was 7 in a car crash and he asked me to get him gift card for his 8 year old son he said he was in the military and he lives in New York
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Lulu

Hello lulu what is the name of that guy can you please tell me.and do you have a picture of him .
March 26, 2019

In reply to by Lulu

Can you tell me the name of this guy. I think my friend and you are talking to the same person
June 29, 2019

In reply to by Chengbautista2…

I am going through the same thing, today it was a video card. This guy is saying he is on a contract at sea, needs Apple Card to communicate to people in the states
I was had too
April 28, 2019

In reply to by Lulu

I have pictures I’d love to compare still kind of haggling so don’t want to put too much here you know. Ugh so unbelievable
May 08, 2019

In reply to by I was had too

I have fake photos of my scammer too,,,and I will post them to warn other women not to believe the man in the photos are talking to you.
February 01, 2020

In reply to by Gma1953

Hello, if anyone has photo of those scammer. I have experience one supposedly he is in military and ask Google card for VPN protection.. Just want to check if this person is genuine or one of those. Please help. Thanks
May 11, 2019

In reply to by Lulu

Do you know what his name was it sound Familiar to the same thing his from Florida his was look for love that his fall in love with me his the only child of his parents kill in car accidents and his son 6 year old his tell me all this sweet thing do have picture of him
June 01, 2019

In reply to by Leah44

Hey Leah This sounds similar to a guy who was talking to me. He’s in the military all his family is dead and he’s an only child. He needs a iTunes card to activate his phone so we can talk and he has no one to help him. Do you have pictures?
April 28, 2020

In reply to by Lulu

Me too caught with the same content. She pretended to be an army official of US who is now in Syria for a peace mantaining mission. I really wonder how I did trust her. She send messages through Instagram using romantic expressions which tend me to fall in her. Once I asked her for some photos of her surroundings, the very moment she accepted but for that she need to get filled with an iTunes gift card of $500. As I'm an Indian, she asked me if gift cards are used in my country right in the beginning of the conversation itself. As I was not that aware of what are iTunes gift cards, I just googled it and luckily found this awareness article. Thank you so much. The very moment I reported a complaint using the link provided. It was so awful. She should be brought in front of the law and charged with adequate steps by the court. Thank you Basith, India
May 03, 2018

In reply to by Jax

Same here.. military man needs a card to update his laptop bit he has money in oil reserves and will be out in 3 months
January 24, 2019

In reply to by Beth

I have a friend that has a man that said he is in the military and needs itune cards to make phone calls. He says all kinds of things to her about how when he gets home he will have all this money and they can get married but she won't believe me that he is scamming her and she continues to buy these men Amazon and itune cards and I can't talk her out if it she believes them over me and I don't know what to do. Someone please help
May 11, 2019

In reply to by Caycee

I start talk to someone around Jan this year his told me somethings that his come take me my daugther out here when come back from state and write this love letter I even talk on fb call
July 15, 2019

In reply to by Caycee

Prob too late, but tell your friend to tell him I tunes cards don't work for phone calls. See what he says then.
April 12, 2018

In reply to by Alex

I was scammed by this guy. He showed me lots of pictures of his house and cars. We talked a few months and I was gullible enough to trust him with my credit card online account. He deposited 7,000 on my account and ask for iTunes cards. I sent him 3500 in cards. Needless to say the deposit he made was cancelled and invalid. I'm out 3500 and feel terrible.
Caught it on time
April 28, 2018

In reply to by Rhonda

I got very close to being scammed with the itunes scam, but when i thought about it i was like well wait a minute, does all of this make sense. I met a guy online and he claimed to give me 1500 a month, then today he goes "oh i did tell you you have to use itunes. I was like uhh no that is a scam and needless to say he didnt know i knew my reseach by having a friend that works for apple and knows everything about the company and products.
June 13, 2018

In reply to by Rhonda

This guy just scammed my co- worker. He used the name Brian Brochu. He sent her love poems. Her credit card showed that he made a payment so she sent itune card. Then payment was invalid.
July 12, 2018

In reply to by Rhonda

Would the name be Gray Moore. Has daughter in boarding school. Is on an oil platform in the ocean