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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

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

January 10, 2017
i got a call from 202-688-7306 telling i was going to get 9,000 just needed to buy two $100 and one $50 itune card to my 9,000.....
January 14, 2017
I've gotten the federal grant calls AND the IRS there no way to block their numbers?
January 23, 2017
I went online to find a personal loan. A company called me saying I was approved for up to $5000. I believed it was a legit company so I gave 5hem my bank information. They deposited money in my account. Now they want me to buy itune cards so they can get their money back. They said after I do this then they will loan my the money I needed. My bank has froze my account what am I supposed to do now?
Kapil S
January 31, 2017
Big scam.Lost above $12000.Someone called from 911 and told me about my arrest warrant.All are iTunes card target card also they provide an account number to transfer.Please suggest me what will I do.
FTC Staff
January 31, 2017

In reply to by Kapil S

Call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away. You might have to wait on hold before someone will talk to you.

Tell them what happened. Ask if they can disable the cards you bought. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card. Talk  with their customer service staff at the store.

Please report this to the FTC. The information you give will go into a secure database. The FTC and other law enforcement will use that information for investigations.

January 31, 2017
itunes card is only for apple product right
FTC Staff
January 31, 2017

In reply to by steven24a

Yes, iTunes is only for Apple products. Not for IRS or debts or phone service or any other reasons.

January 31, 2017
I have a $200 iTunes card i don't need but i want to share it into two so i can give my two son $100 each.. how can i do that ?
January 31, 2017
I have been scammed by David Russell from the Workman's Comp. I have $1,000 worth of ITune cards. There is 20 @ $50.00 each. I don't know if they are still good or not.
FTC Staff
February 07, 2017

In reply to by nanafromindiana

If you gave someone the code from an iTunes card and you think it was a scam, call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away. You may have to spend some time on hold. Tell them what happened. Ask if they can disable the cards.

Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. And if you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

In-debt colleg…
February 18, 2017
I got scammed on 2/14/17, yes it was Valentine's Day. I got called while I was at my school lab doing work like normal. Some lady called and said I'd won a one time grant from the federal government for $9,200. They send me to talk to another guy (202-670-8549), Senior Accountant Manager with some federal grant ID# KM979. I didn't believe her, but I thought this new guy would tell me that she was crazy and there was nothing. I didn't guess that he was in on it too. He said something about ARRA, financial crisis of 2008/2009, something Obama put into effect to give out relief to families. He gave me a fake name and address, phone number and extension number, said he was calling from Washington D.C. They made me do iTunes gift cards and buy a confirmation code $200 first, then they wanted me to pay state taxes on the grant, $475, and lastly they wanted a bank transfer fee $568. I gave them a total of $875, after which I told them I literally have no more money that was all I had. They told me I should borrow the money from someone or get a loan and I tried but it was late they said that they're closing soon (it was almost 4pm Pacific time, my time) and would have to call me back tomorrow once I borrowed money. They said they will come in at 10:30am and that would be 7:30am my time. When I went home everyone told me it was a scam, I cried, I tried to talk to Wells Fargo. They couldn't do anything because it was me who actually bought the cards. I had given them my debit card and address info (thankfully not my full account info since I didn't know it) so I cancelled everything. Waiting on my new card now. After this happened, I just decided to figure everything was gone. Since they're fake names no one can help me. No point in going to the police. I did file a claim on here though. Hopefully it will help someone in the future. It just sucks because, I'm a senior college student (age 24) with loans. I'm about to graduate so I was trying to hold onto that money to help me while I look for a job, but now I don't know what I will do. And now I'm in even more debt. I can't believe they did that when I even told them that's all the money I have, these people really are heartless. All I can do is hope that in some way the Universe gets back at them for what they've done to me and many other innocent people.
September 30, 2017

In reply to by In-debt colleg…

so sorry about your situation, same thing happened to me but I just stoped after the 200
February 21, 2017
how do I go about reporting a scam to the FTC? Looking on the site and can't find out exactly where. I have been offered a Lending Club loan for $5500 (I am desperate for the funds), but they want me to purchase a $50 Itunes card and pay a processing fee, then I will get my loan as well as the processing fee back withing 24 hours (regular bank processing). I am reading all of these, would never be thinking about paying someone hundereds of thousands of dollars for a $50 doesn't seem bad. But did any of these people actually get the money??? It seems like some of them did get the funds
February 21, 2017
Today morning, I just received a call from a emergency no 911 and a person claimed that he was from police department and he was having arrest warrant to arrest me immediately from my work premises as they have identified that I have done a fradulent tax submission and got a notification from IRS, and they have asked me that do I need to talk to IRS officer as a last chance. They connected to other person she claimed that she is from IRS office and to avoid the arrest I need to pay $2,986 as a penalty for tax fraud for the years 2016-2017. They have asked my visa status and date of entry in US. She also said that my license, debit and credit cards already requested to block. she gave me two options 1) go to jail and ask a attoerny to handle the case or 2) outside court settlement of $2,986. From here onwards She gave me step by step information - She asked me to go to bank and take all the cash out of that, I told my bank balance to her and she instructed to me to write down a CNF code(??) in case my account got locked and I should inform CNF code to bank official to get the cash. My account worked as normal and I took $1,500 cash from bank. I had a doubt on that time but again I follwed her instructions. She again conferenced with a police person and police person told I need to pay thru' gift card to IRS to cancel the arrest warrant. She gave the address and asked me to go to nearest super market (Hannaford), then CVS pharmacy and then Bestbuy and totally I bought I-Tune gift cards for $8,00. (3 * 200 Giftcard + 2 * 100 Giftcard), and I gave her the 16 digit alpha numeric no. She claimed that she was preparing the documents to clear my case, after that I needed to go to nearest IRS office to collect the documents. Lastly she told that to go to target store and I got doubt on very late moment and I searched web for these scams. All 3 Hours am in call with the scam person and she called me back immediately whenever call got dropped, she warned that I should not inform any one reg. this and should not use web search or mobile data which will take me to custody. And I should not inform the stores that I am purchasing the I Tunes for IRS payment.
FTC Staff
February 22, 2017

In reply to by Ragini

This is a scam. The people who called are not from the IRS or police department. They took your money. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Usually, the scammer will take the value of the iTunes card immediately after you tell them the code. But, you could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 now and explain what happened. Ask Apple to disable the cards. If the scammer did not take the value of the cards, Apple might be able to disable the cards.

You can go to the stores where you bought the cards. Talk to the clerk that sold the cards and tell what happened. Also, please call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 to report this.

February 22, 2017
Is there a Federal Grants Department in Seattle, WA . How do they select people for grants if you have not proactively applied for a grant. Maybe, they are trying to help you but why the iTunes gift cards. Ouch.
February 24, 2017
This morning, I got a called from "Department of Homeland Security" 866-347-2423 saying they tracked my IP address on craigslist casual encounters and they will issue an arrest for me. They said they will charge me with conspiracies, cybercrime, and sex offender which I was kind of skeptical about. However, it did scare me a little bit. But my co-work was with me and she knew something was off when that guy said "hold up" twice and called on a different number from Wyoming 307-275-9499. He then threatens me by giving two options. Option A go to jail for 25 years or option B all charges will be drop but you have to pay a fee. So, as scared as crap I was, I chose option B. After I told him, he said you have to pay 1.2k and 27 cents, then I said I only work part time, then he said to pay $800, and after that I said I have to talk to my cousins and boss to help me out. He then said $600. So, I said I don't have the fund yet but once I get it, he will direct to go to the nearest "Walmart" and he will guide me with a reference number. Lastly, my co-worker and I are now very skeptical about it. So I called San Mateo, San Jose, and SF Police Departments. They said it was a scam for sure and there's nothing I have to worried about. So, I was researching online and found out that these people used "Caller ID spoofing" that appear on your phone that make it looks like the department of homeland security or other government agencies but then hung out and used a different phone from a different state? Big red flag there. As convincing they can be by posing as an agent, always double check, and research. Never post anything on craigslist. A lesson to learn. And I am pretty sure once you use "casual encounters" as stupid as I was, you have to click you are 18 years old and almost all the w4m are fake ads because they will spam you with free sign up a credit card for views.
March 01, 2017
Someone please help me asap, i know one friend who recently got fooled into buying iTunes gift cards worth $6500!!!! It is about to ruin her life, please let me know if anyone can offer any advice about claiming the feaud. email me
FTC Staff
March 01, 2017

In reply to by I'mVictim

If you gave someone the code from an iTunes card and you think it was a scam, call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away.You might have to wait on hold for a bit.

Tell Apple what happened. Ask if they can disable the card. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. And if you hear from someone who wants you to send an iTunes card, please tell the FTC.

March 04, 2017
Can they do any more damage once they're into your computer other than the $ amount lost on the iTune card purchases?
March 22, 2017
is it possible that i can post ads in craigslist if i have an itunecard..
FTC Staff
March 24, 2017

In reply to by popsy

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

If you buy the iTunes card and tell someone the code on the back of the card, they get the value of the iTunes card. You have nothing.

March 24, 2017
The same thing just happened to me today they just took $1000 from me wish i knew
April 05, 2017
I got scammed today into buying iTunes gift cards. I believed I was getting a small loan and all I had to do was buy 2 iTunes gift cards, call the scratch off numbers into them by phone, and then they would reimburse me for the 100.00 I spent as well as give me the loan amount by Moneygram I needed at a local store. When I went to the customer service desk at Walmart, after buying the 2 iTunes cards and calling the numbers on the back in, I found out I was scammed. The 100.00 is gone, and I will never see it. The loan was for 1500.00 to cover my rent I have not paid this month and car repair work.
for all seasons
April 29, 2017
I just recently had an idiot try to scam me with the itune gift card payment.claimed he was a bank offering me a payday loan but first i had to give them a deposit of 500.00 dollars to be approved for a 1500.00 loan. I was told to pay with an itune card so it can be easily refunded back to....yeah.....right. hung the phone up on him....oh b.t.w. he had a very heavy indian accent.
May 05, 2017
What I don't understand is what they do with the gift cards after they get them. You can only by so much with iTunes gift cards.
June 01, 2017

In reply to by Debs

They can buy iPhones, iPads, macbooks, all worth thousands of dollars and sell them as new for 95% of retail value. Apple products keep their value. They aren't using them to buy apps and download songs!
FTC Staff
June 06, 2017

In reply to by Jen

No, you can't buy devices with iTunes cards.

You can use iTunes cards in the iTunes store, App store or iBooks store.

May 05, 2017
I was almost scammed. I bought cards totaling $400 but figured it out and redeemed the card on iTunes website. Is there any way I can receive the money on these. I am retired and they told me I had a grant. Which sounded good but too good do I beat them to the cards. If I came be helped please let me know.
May 06, 2017
How do they turn the itunes gift cards into cash for themselves? Do they buy computers from the apple store?
June 03, 2017

In reply to by swagman

Computers, Phones and probably any other electronics they can afford on their cards. Unless they take them and sell for profit. I honestly don't know what they use them for.
May 11, 2017
Boy wished I had read this before hand, lost 1200 in iTunes cards, a guy who was my Microsoft tech rang and told me that my computer had to be updated silly me let him in my computer, then once fixed asked for 600 in iTunes cards as was going to apple for the program he put on. I got the wrong cards first off as got from a normal store when he told me to get from Target. so lost more money, then told me that will get back money from other company that couldn't keep my computer updated, told me that FedEx had chqs when check up with them told me couldn't find any thing with my name on it and the ref no he gave was wrong. then tech rang back today and asked for another 400 in iTunes cards for taxes for the chqs coming into the country, when I starting asking questions he just told me that I can pay 300 until the chq turn up then pay another 100. as if...I don't earn a lot so need guys like this to scam me.
May 11, 2017
seems like this is also happening a lot on dating sites, but when I encounter someone with poor english, they are usually from Cinncinati but on assignment as a sniper.
Outraged and C…
May 16, 2017
Has anyone heard of someone advertising to hire data entry from home $20.00. They give you a cash advance to buy office supplies and equipment needed. They want you to buy itunes cards to give them numbers for items needed to be purchased. Any insight would help. Thanks
December 21, 2017

In reply to by Outraged and C…

I just now encountered this person named terese kemblet that is asking me 2 do this same thing. Did u get scammed?
February 04, 2018

In reply to by Outraged and C…

i got the same call today. what happened after?
May 17, 2017
I was a victim of an IRS phone scam yesterday afternoon. For three hours, the scammer had me go around downtown Boston and purchase iTunes gift cards, worth a total of $2,150. She told me I had made suspicious transactions that the IRS was not aware of. Then she threatened me and said if I don't pay them this 'deposit', I will be arrested and go to court. At first she told me to deposit the money to a bank that wasn't even located in MA. Then she asked me if there was a local Walgreens nearby, and I told her there was. Once she made sure I agreed to pay the deposit, she kept reassuring me that she would help me as long as I did what I was told. I was also instructed not to call or message anyone while I was on the phone with her. She also told me I was being recorded so I had to be careful of what I would say. I went to two different Walgreens, a local grocery store, and a GameStop until I bought hundreds of gift cards worth the specified amount. I spent hours scratching off the cards one by one and reading the individual codes to her. Also, as I was buying the cards, she told me to buy a portable phone charger so I would make sure my phone was charged the whole time we were on the phone. By the end of the phone call, she thanked me and said an officer will come and pick up the cards and I'll be able to sign the papers as they investigate my file. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized it was a scam. What a shameful way to trick someone into giving you money. I was emotional, vulnerable, and extremely scared, and I hope nobody else will go through what I went through. Please learn from this and don't be a fraud victim.
May 19, 2017

In reply to by mireillenaj

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Unfortunately, we cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments. Please report your experience at

May 26, 2017
I started talking to a nice looking man on a dating app. He said he was Air Force or Marines on a special mission deployed in Africa. We talked for months, but he was making little mistakes (like improper English, tried to confused me about his military status, his father died of natural causes but he couldn't tell me what those were, etc.) that I picked up on. In the last few days, he said he was in trouble with him commanding officer because he had a cellphone and access to the internet so the commanding officer was black mailing him for $500 worth in iTunes gift cards. This was all very suspicious to me, but I played along and said I would send him a $100 gift card. He became very pushy and then kept asking me about the gift card saying the commanding officer was making his life hell. He said he gave his life savings for his niece, who was dying of cancer so he had no money. And he lost contact with any of his family and friends since being deployed so he has no one to ask for money other than me. Conveniently since I told him I couldn't come up with the money, he has ceased contacting me. What a scam! I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I met him on the app: Coffee Meets Bagel. He is a ripped looking guy who sends a lot of weight lifting pics, and goes by the name of David Mcgarvey.
May 27, 2017
I have received many calls from a 206-596-0017 and numerous texts from a 65720 stating loan application has been approved and they constantly argue stating they are in Washington D.C. and working closely with Apple and you will receive the loan amount plus the cost of your I tunes card without it affecting your loan payment dont fall for this crap its unbelievable how persistent these crooks are!
Feeling stewpid
May 29, 2017
Googled Facebook contact number. Got an offical looking site (818-900-9948) called and a Indian sounding guy said my FB account had been hacked and needed a Apple Key" to track track hacker and protect my account from being hacked. Said FB was trying to shut down these hackers and I would get money returned. After purchasing $250 worth of I-tune cards to get the "Apple Key" there was no more contact,line busy... He sounded very profesional and knowledgeable about FB and I was sure the original problem was being resolved. Stoopid me!!! The google had 6 or 7 different contacts for in the hell do you know your actually dealing with who you think you are when they can post using major corporations names....cant trust anything on the Interweb, First time I've ever been scammed and I innisuated the contact!!! People BEWARE..... thinking and hoping that I havent helped fund a terrorist group....
June 02, 2017
Hello , please I bought an iTunes card from someone through the internet who sells gift card and I redeemed it. On my next purchase , iTunes told me my purchase cannot be completed. I suspect the gift card was scammed one...Please what should I do ??
This is bull
June 02, 2017
Just got me for $2800 in itunes cards how is itunes allowing this what a scam.
June 02, 2017
My son just got scammed yesterday ...$10,000 Grant is waiting for him...,if he sends $2,800 , for he Max 3 credit cards and , today he supposed to receive the grand , deposit in his bank account... instead They asked for$1,500 more... I'm sorry for him... but we'll get over it...all $$ is gone..
A Victum
June 07, 2017
Just wondering if anyone else was scammed in the I tunes card scame? The Hacker gets your home # and contacts claiming to be a Windows or an I T Support from other company's because our Computer is performing poorly. Wanting to set up a Team viewer and rescue it. Well, using I tunes cards. The Western Union too for wiring money to a friend Supposedly??? Giving you an Arab Name to send it to which is out of the County. Even considering using your Pay pal acct. to Extort you as well. In this particular case they said they were from South Africa. He claimed he was a Mike Thomas. They lock you Computer giving you a 4 digit code of four numbers that allows you on a few days but, likely monitoring your activity. Hoping you might purchase something online in order to seek your Banking info or Credit Card # as well. A very likely associate of theirs contacts you awhile later and wants to help your recover your lost money using I tunes cards too, a min. Amount of $2000 being the least able to be refunded. The claim is they can catch them by putting I tune card numbers on your computer to track them when taking the money off the cards. I voiced saying that I would need a Certified Madallion Check with a Watermark on it Overnighted to me by a currier not putting it in my Bank acct. by them. The likelihood of them draining my acct. if giving access to it. She even claimed she would give me an extra $200. for my trouble... Some nerve and suspicious claim.
June 16, 2017
I met a man on POF who said he was living in Albany, NY but had just gotten a contract for bridge and roads in Istanbul, Turkey. According to him, he just arrived yesterday and was needing me to send him itune cards so his phone would continue working so he could talk to me. he told me there was no Wal Mart stores in Istanbul so he couldn't purchase the itune cards in Turkey and wants me to send him the numbers off of them. I googled it and Istanbul does have large Wal Mart stores. When I told him that he said well you know I came here to work and the stores are too far for me to go myself so you go to your store an send me the numbers. That does not sound right to me. Is htis a scam?
FTC Staff
June 16, 2017

In reply to by carosuz

That's a scam! You can't use an iTunes card for a cell phone. Good for you for checking out his story, and not doing what he asked.

If you buy an iTunes card and tell him the numbers, he gets the value of the card and you've lost money. The story about being from the US and being overseas for work, and needing money or a phone or help with bills is a typical scammer's pitch.