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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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January 19, 2018
I was asked for $100 Itune gift card by online dating scammer became he needed to boost internet connection in Nigeria. He couldn’t purchase it there.
January 22, 2018
Was scammed yesterday. Was contacted through messenger by what I thought was one of my friends. She told me of how to claim money from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and she had received money by simply filling out a form. I trusted the message and proceeded to call the number she had given me requesting the form which they email be back and I proceeded to fill out the form. They said I was approved but needed $2500 for filing and handling this. This seemed wrong so I asked my friend by answering her message if that was what she did. Of course she agreed it was and I'd get the "prize money" by carrier the very next day. The scammers and I mailed back and forth about the money and finally they agreed I could send only $500. Okay, now here's what I did per their request: I bought $500 in iTunes cards, scratched off the silver to display the number, took pictures of the numbers and sent it on to them. Now they said I was approved as long as I could come up with a $1,000 more. At this point I was now feeling sick to my stomach, I knew I had just been scammed. I'm very good to this point about spotting a scam but when my "friend" gave me their phone number and encouraged me to contact them, I became a believer. Thing is, the messages from my friend were really not from her at all. WOW! Now I have no idea if I should call the police or take this as a very expensive lesson learned. Any thoughts?
FTC Staff
January 23, 2018

In reply to by Nettie

You can report it to the FTC at The information you give about the calls and the steps of the scam will go into a database that the FTC and law enforcement agencies nationwide use for investigations. You could tell Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 that the cards were used in a scam, although the scammer has probably used the value already.  You can also warn your friend that someone has her personal information and is mis-using it. Maybe she can warn other people she knows before the scammer calls them.

January 27, 2018
Theses are all scams ... no grown man will ever be talking about marriage to a woman he’s never met, even more so if he’s wealthy. Any story he gives about an emergency and needing money is a scam. Remember if this was real he would have a friend or relative to help him or her, if your child told you they were in love with someone they never met you would tell them it’s not love because you don’t even know them and have never met them!!! So take YOUR OWN ADVICE people!!! The minute they ask for even one dollar MOVE ON!!!
January 30, 2018
I just got scammed yesterday they told me I was randomly selected and approved for 10,200 but I had to buy two Google play cards 10-100 load 100 on each card at Winn Dixie They told me to make sure that Winn Dixie had western union so I could get my money in minutes. I felt like a criminal they told me to load the cards sit in my car and scratch off the codes... Then after they got the codes they had me call another number saying they were the federal reserve bank to verify my info so I could pick up the money these people had the audacity to ask me for another 495 dollars I am a single mom I can't believe I let them get me But this is a well learned experience... I was told the government will never call you unless you applied and still double check that before you give them any information......
been there
February 01, 2018
I was wanting to get a personal loan to buy property. for 50,000 Thought this so called lender was legit. He wanted my cc number and last 4 which i gave then said there was a upfront fee which he would pay. He deposited 400 on my cc then told me to go to walmart and get 4 100 dollar itune cards before we can proceed with the loan which red flags went up then i ran across the site and didnt do it i cancelled my card he then threaten me with the law because i refused to run to walmart and buy these cards. I called my bank with cc and asked them if they pay by check how long does it take to clear? 7 days so in turn if i sent him back the 400 i would be stuck with a bad check and paying the money back to my cc.I emailed him which his number is a NY number and told him when check clears in 7 days u get ur money back. I knew all in my gut this was a scam. I asked him why itune cards and his reply was my atty bought a new iphone and wants to upgrade do you think i really will fall for this? After he threaten me with the law and i sent him that email he hasnt responded. I told the cc company what had happen and this check is probably bogus.
February 10, 2018
I got scammed by buying $5500.. gift card from Target, they actually showed me my ban acct: where they had deposited $11,000 by accident & wanted it back right now or get attorneys involved!! They took my recent SS money & $5000. in savings!! They don't care & you'll never get your money back as they are in a foreign country!! Red flags all over, I feel so stupid & taken!!
February 12, 2018
I may have possibly been scammed out of $200, these guys posed as guys who say they work for the government, not IRS guys but they claim to say they are giving grant money away, what should I do
FTC Staff
February 28, 2018

In reply to by rugbychick05

Your choice of what to do next depends on when you sent the money and how you sent it. If you told a scammer the codes from an iTunes card, the scammer probably took the value of the card as soon as you told him. You could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask if there are other steps to take.

If you sent money by wire transfer, call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400. You can report scams to the FTC at

February 15, 2018
Who asks you to pay loans with iTunes cards ?? My mother has been scammed my dads whole life insurance police 70plus grand. And she still falls for it.
February 21, 2018
I am having guys from Nigeria and guys who say they are in the Army on a peace mission wanting me to get the I-tune gift cards. I am not going to do it. To me it is for music not for your I-phone. I will not do it. I got scammed many years ago and I will not fall for this crap again
February 27, 2018
My husband was just scammed out of 600$ they got him to buy iTunes cards to verify his identity for a Facebook account that he firehot a password for how can we get our money back
FTC Staff
February 28, 2018

In reply to by Cjboyd691

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 and 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.

March 01, 2018
This man sent me a friend request from fb. I went on his n did my own investigating n he seems to be okay. We have been talking about 5 months. Never meet but we say the same thing at the same time. He has only asked me to buy him itunes cards. My question what in the world can you buy off itunes for $200. This is the only thing that bothers me with him.. So i guess I'm asking does he sound like a scammer.
March 10, 2018
Someone asked me the same, except they are using a Celebrity name, picture, Facebook account
March 13, 2018
I had someone I was getting to know, and she asked for $500 of iTunes cards because her phone ran out of mins, but I could only get them in $100 or $50 then take a picture of the number and send it to her. She need it right away. OF course I did not do it. But I don't understand what the deal is with iTunes cards. What can they do with iTunes cards. I through those were just for music. Guess I'm an idiot...
FTC Staff
March 14, 2018

In reply to by Morgan21

You're right, people can use iTunes cards to buy music, books and apps online. A scammer might sell or exchange a high-value iTunes card to get cash.

March 13, 2018
I was just hit this past week!!! They said: "My Name is Agent Solomon Hunt From department of health and human service Compensation Appeals Board (HCAB) What is your Full Name and Address? I have to run a check on the database to verify if your entries are still available with us. Thank you. This is a lottery set up by the federal government to help the American communities and other countries around the world. Your name was picked randomly as one of the winners of the week This money giving by the federal government is not a loan, it's free money giving by the American government to help the American deaf and hearing communities.You are one of the lucky winners who won from the lottery. You won $150,000,00 as the star prize of the week.Your name was drawn electronically and you are were being picked randomly as one of the star winners of the week." And then I was told to: You will have to go to Walmart store right now and go and purchase an Itunes Gifted Card of $350 the card should be $100 each and you should try to activate the card at the store, OK ?" Agent Solomon Hunt This is what Im being told!
March 19, 2018
The Federal trade Commission should b shut down they get paid to read people stories
my scammer messed up
March 25, 2018
My story is a little different. It started with me calling HP Support for a printer problem. I got the number from the HP website. The Indian who answered the call said he could fix my problem. I gave him control of my PC, and he declared it was unprotected and I needed to buy their security software. I was on the phone for hours arguing, but I needed my printer to work, so I ended up buying a year's subscription for $250. He did fix my printer. Four months later (last Thursday) the company called to say their server had crashed and they owed me a refund. They had to remove the software from my computer. I suspect they actually downloaded data; I don't think they installed malware. And I talked to the sales rep about the refund. I asked him to send me a check, and he said he couldn't because their server had crashed; he needed to deposit it directly into my checking account. I said, no. He said he only needed the last 3 digits of my checking account. He already knew my birthday. He did it, but instead of entering $250, he added a zero and entered $2500. That's when this turned into a story from hell. I said I had to go (after hours on the phone) and I would send them a check for the difference. They couldn't take checks because their server had crashed. (!) Then I was told that the Indian I'd been speaking to, "Nick," would have to spend the night on the couch in the office unless I went out to a Walmart. I talked to his boss and told him to let "Nick" go home and I would deal with it in the morning and hung up. They called me back constantly and I turned off the ringer. The next morning I answered their call and they said I must go out to a Walmart, while they were still on the phone with me (why do they want that?). I did not keep them on the phone, but I did get $2100 worth of iTunes gift cards at 3 different stores. I photographed them with my iPhone and emailed them to him. More red flags: I think they were all in India as they couldn't get the time difference right. Some of the caller IDs were from Florida and some from Oregon. They all had Indian accents but Anglo names; James Parker was one, and Nick Goodman was another. I made them spell the name of their company; it was FixNet. If you search for it, you get nothing, so that was a lie. Even after I'd decided this was all a scam, I felt sorry for "Nick" and that's why I sent the gift card numbers. I ended up getting my $250 refund and an extra $150 for my time, but I closed my bank account. I don't understand how they had access to it with only the last 3 digits of the account number, and neither does my bank. I'm worried about identity theft, since they accessed my PC. I think there should be more publicity about this. I had never heard of the iTunes gift card scam, and searched online only after the fact. I have submitted a formal complaint to the ftc.
April 19, 2018
Can they hack your bank account after you gave them the security code on the back? Got scammed for $600.
April 23, 2018
I have been scam by this website for 1000 dollars itune card
May 01, 2018
I was scammed by a guy said he worked for Texaco Global marketing but Facebook profile said he worked for Facebook because I got a Facebook message from whoni thought was coming from s friend on Facebook said she won money saw me on the winners list to click this link which took me to a guy he said to go buy iTunes cards and send pictures of the back he said becssuse the winnings was cash so I thought it was real because the original message came whom thought was my friend I got scammed and then found out after I never got anything and her Facebook was scammed had I known about the ft and about the scam I never would have done it I reported to ft and Apple and tried to contact the guy that runs Facebook he won't even respond to my message I don't even know how to find out if these people get caught how I would know.
May 03, 2018
I face the same thing but I won't. Not buy. A itrune. Carf And he just won't leave me alone he make. Thing. Wrose I block him but he keep. Coming as someone else. On time he use my grandpa pic I know it was no my grandpa. Cuz my grandpa send will never ask me for money or a itrune card. And I don't know what to do can u. Help me out please.
May 06, 2018
Was talking to man in Service for several months who proclaimed to care for me.and he asked for $200 Itune card. Said he was stationed In Syria and needed right away and would I get two separate $100 cards. Like a idiot I sent $100 only because something didn’t feel right and wanted to see his reaction.. I hadn’t hear anything about this scam so ladies beware. Should have listened to my head.
May 12, 2018

In reply to by Carrie

This exact same just happened to me. You get hooked until they ask for the itunes card. Glad I found these entries so I didn't loose what I can't afford to loose. Thanks to others for sharing. He had videos, pictures, FB page, using the Marines as cover.
May 13, 2018
I fell for the scam yesterday and lost USD1800 on iTunes cards. I only suddenly woke up when fraudsters repeatedly pushed me to get more cards. I’m usually very, very careful but yesterday I was scammed and have been feeling terrible. I wonder if iTunes could do anything about CORRECT iTunes payments on my bank statements that come along with that FAKE iTunes phone number 1866-712-7753 that led to my nightmare. I read after that fact that this has been going on for years with many people, and that Apple iTunes data base has been hacked for so long, putting customers’ safety in compromising positions. Is it possible to file a claim with Apple? It feels like a long short but it seems to make sense. If not, can the bank be responsible for allowing the fake number to appear on bank statements? I take responsible for being ridiculously gullible and fooled yesterday. But I’m also hoping for fairness and get my large amount of money back, if possible, if not partial with shared responsibilities (iTunes, bank and me) for fairness. I would appreciate any advice from this community. Thank you.
help in va
May 15, 2018
I need help there is a guy name Sam peters says he is with lending club he says I was approved for loan put money in my account and now wants me to send him iTunes card or a steam card
FTC Staff
May 16, 2018

In reply to by help in va

That could be a scam. Some scammers say make it seem like they put money into your account, and they tell you to withdraw money and buy them a gift card. But after you withdraw money, and give them a real gift card (or the numbers from the card) the bank says the check was no good, and there's no money in your account.

Some scammers deposit money and then reverse the deposit, after you send them the iTunes or Steam card. Then you have to repay the bank all the money you withdrew.

July 06, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

I wish, I read this before I got scammed, in my case with 3 credit cards, that at the end got closed by my banks plus two checkings accounts and I ended up with more debt than I already had it. I got treated with a history of love, that was supposed to help me get my payout, and conviced me to give information of my credit cards, suppodsly he deposited money to helped me, the money became available into my account, I withdraw the cash and buy gift cards and some elctronics, I ended up shipping electronics oversea, sending cards codes that were real, after maybe 5 days the bank notified me that wasn't cover, the account when negative, and my debt got double, and the fustration that I got scammed by someone suppodsly loved me, and 3 credit cards, and two checking accounts closed. Someone else contacted me in his own IG account teling me he got into an accident and that he passed way, how convenience all of this with all the pain I feel iny heart I start to see the reality, he vanished after he couldn't get any more of the money from me, and my accounts geting closed. I wish I have a way to track him down, or the criminals that are working together with him in Russia, suppodsly members of the airbitclub company, pro100business, because that is how everything started, when he started contacted me, under the name of Carlos Bush in IG from Russia, Barnaul. I am wonder is ther is a way to tack down any of them by the serial number of the unlock phone? any advice on that?
May 16, 2018
Can you use a iTunes cards for gas
FTC Staff
May 16, 2018

In reply to by Niceguy

NO, you can't use an iTunes card for gas. That is not true.

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

May 17, 2018
Just had a guy by the name Micheal Colman try to scam me out of a hundred dollars saying he will marry me in order to get the money his dad left in a will which is worth millions, but I need 100 dollar iTunes card can you believe that I was born at night but not last night
Cali Girl
May 22, 2018
They called me not once but several times. I answered 2 of them and the same story. I told them wait apple needs to fix my security problem. You mean apple computer company? They said yes. I said oh let me call the FBI. THEY HUNG UP.
May 31, 2018
I believe that I have fallen for this type of scam just today, while at work.... My computer started acting funny last night, and this morning my browser had deleted all of my saved logins. So, I logged back in to each site individually, and changed the passwords for them. I wanted to also change my Apple ID password, but I was at work, and had no access to the internet, except for my phone, so I searched for an Apple support number, and found 2 of them. (both toll free, untraceable numbers) I called the first one I found, and it sounded very professional, putting me on hold relentlessly (with horrid music), and of course, they were all Middle Easterners, at least from the accents. I was informed that my account had been accessed from 3 other states, and from Russia, which confused and concerned me, so I continued to request to change the password. They gave me some malarky about needing me to provide the number on the back of a $200 Apple / Itunes gift card, to begin the process, and that I would be refunded $250 as soon as it was finalized. I know, if it's too good to be true etc.... Still, I fell for it, and took my lunch break to go up to CVS and bought two $100 cards, and then gave them the numbers. Then I was transferred to an 'Accounts / Billing agent' to process my refund. This guy, who sounded suspiciously like the first guy, told me that he needed me to get another $200 worth of gift cards for them, but this time not Itunes cards, because they were having server troubles. This is all supposed to happen tomorrow, before I go to work, but I think I am going to just call them on their BS, and see if I can get any further information about these people, for the authorities, because I am pretty certain that my $200 is long gone, and was not necessary at all to change that password. In any case, I am pretty certain that i have fallen for this exact scam myself!!
June 04, 2018

I need help.yesterday I fell through and feel like a first they said im approved for 2500. And go buy itunes card for 50 30 min.later I was told that sever were block and need to go buy another 50 dollars gift card itunes.and promise me I get if refund and the will be ready in five min.well five min.pass and I tried to called .no answer for an hour.

well another person text and said she in western union dept. I waited another 30 min.and call answer. Well 15 min.later they promise that I will get the loan 8 am. Right now it is 254 am.I got a feelings that I got scam fir sending 100 .but when I get there at 8 masher will they tell me.or will they call me.I just hope they don't scam me and used thatch 100 dollar out of my rent the payment.

I just hope they means and keep their promise ,not break promise to ya think I get or the scam me for. good ? Her names is hazel brown. Advance American loan8584296436. If it a can get my 100 bucks refund back to me?

FTC Staff
June 04, 2018

In reply to by cobbkat4

This seems like a scam.  If they promise you a loan, but say you must send money before you get the loan, that is usually a scam.

When you pay with iTunes,  it is the same as giving cash. After you give the iTunes number, the value goes to the scammer. If you have the iTunes card, you can call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask if the scammer used the value.

June 02, 2018
People, make sure the location on your cell phones is turned OFF. One Scammer was stalking me while texting me because my location was ON. If you use social media to post where you are going what doing, do it after the fact. Seriously!!!!
June 03, 2018
I have a military man trying to get me to get him Amazon cards to send his mail to his mom. I think it’s a scam, so I ask for his military ID he says we won’t be friends anymore if you don’t believe me. But I’ll send it to you if you still want I said yes. He still hasn’t sent it to me. He still wants the card number and the receipt idk why.
FTC Staff
June 04, 2018

In reply to by Tinkerbell22

Scammers love gift cards – it’s one of their favorite ways to get your money. If you give someone a gift card, it's like giving cash – and it is nearly impossible to trace. 

Also, an article from the US Army Criminal Investigative Command says:

Military members have an email address that end in ".mil." If the person you are speaking with cannot sent you at least one email from a ".mil" (that will be the very LAST part of the address and nothing after), then there is a high probability they are not in the military.

June 05, 2018
So I got a call from a loan company who put 2200 dollars in my account and told me to buy it all in iTunes and apple pay. I only got 1100 because that's all they had at Walmart. After I sent him the codes, I saw it was probably a scam so I still have 1100 in my account that he put in and I don't know what to do. He keeps calling me but once he got angry I was sure it was a scam
June 08, 2018
Mine started yesterday I’ve been desperate for a loan and putting my info on sites, i got a text saying I was approved for a loan by speedy cash. They put money in my account and they ask me to give it back to them in google play gift cards, today they just asked me to send them a wal-mart to wal-mart money gram. I’ve never used my personal funds but this still feels strange. I’m suppose to go to money gram to get my actual loan amount and then after I’ll get my loan agreement. I’ve said multiple times to Steven that this feels like a scam and he always reassures me but now I’m freaking out.
FTC Staff
June 12, 2018

In reply to by Fml

You're right - this does sound strange. It sounds like a scam that will take your money.

Some scammers send people fake checks or make a temporary deposit, and trick the people into quickly sending good money to the scammers - before people realize they have been tricked.

Later, when the bank finds out the check was fake, or the scammer reverses the deposit, you realize that you must repay the bank the money you sent to the scammer.

Scammers tell you to send gift cards, because gift cards are like cash. They can't be traced. Sending money by wire transfer is also like sending cash - after you send it, you probably can't get it back.

June 12, 2018
HI i recently applied for an online loan just to help out with my bills because I fell behind a little bit on the family emergency and a guy named William Smith sent me a text message saying that I was approved for up to a $5,000 loan so I called him back or whatever and he proceeded to say and that I needed to put money onto a stem card once I did that he are asked me again to put another $100 down on this so-called stem card now this all happened Thursday so Friday he was saying that the money was going to be in my bank account by Saturday morning so here comes Saturday morning there was nothing in my account so I called he proceeded to say that you know they don't do deposits on weekends only do it during business hours so wait till Monday so Monday came in there still was no money into my account so I proceeded to call Monday and finally at this point I have my fiance get involved and then like Monday afternoon they have posted a deposit but the thing they got me was they wanted me to send the money back once I got it deposited in my bank as verification that it was my bank they also asked for my user name and my password on my mobile banking site I did change my password I just wanted to know is this or could this potentially be a scam or is it legit??
FTC Staff
June 21, 2018

In reply to by Sb

If someone says you will get money, but you have to pay them with gift cards first, that's a scam.  Scammers love gift cards. It's one of their favorite ways to get your money. Giving a gift card is like giving someone cash.

If you tell someone your bank account number and password, he can take your money - even if he pretends he is going to make a deposit.

Barbie 0609
June 18, 2018
There's a guy on Instagram who is asking for donations for his charity and he keeps insisting to buy iTunes cards. He said the iTunes cards are like money.I never heard of it.I asked for the name of the charity he didn't answer back.He keeps insisting for iTunes cards.
Expose scammrrs
June 18, 2018
Been messing with a gorgous (yeah right) scammer on hangouts for a couple months now and she's really good but it took her a long time to finally ask for money. That is iTune cards. She's claiming she can trade them online to bolster her trading platform?? I'm sure that's b******* I've read there's a site where scammers sell itune cards 50 to 75% of face value. I've got her believing we are so in love, so right for eachother, soulmates. Seriously, this happens in the first three chats okay 5. Of course I wanted to believe it was true what a dummy but After figuring it out I've been playing along and I want to send her and iTunes card for $100. It's the third time around and she's really worked hard to get this you know pics better pics Etc so to this end how can you trace an iTunes card? I've been at this so long figuring it out and really want to know now This Woman's location who she is the business that is the AI That's being used the bot I really don't know but I'm learning so much that I need to get to the Finish Line. I'm going to expose this person and I'm not going to give up thanks for your help
June 18, 2018
Someone messaged me on Instagram, told me he was in Afghanistan and kept calling me handsome, and sweetie. Seemed legit, until he asked me for an iTunes gift card, I am on a pension and can’t afford it. He told me $25 would be all he would need, I said no I am leery of meeting people online and didn’t want to get scammed. He never message me back, his name was Michael Alston. Please be careful, he is a smooth talker
June 20, 2018
if you get an ITunes card for someone out of the country can he make phone call to other people