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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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July 11, 2020
So I have the same issue someone messaged me on Instagram and said he was Brent Richard Griffin and he is currently in Iraq and has a wife that died from cancer and he had a son who is in military school and ask me to get him a steam gift card so I believe this is a scam
July 19, 2020
I am trying to find out to do this I was scam to go buy these cards and I lost my money they said I won money and they keep telling me to go get more cards and all that so please help me get my money back
July 22, 2020
I am to receive a loan of $40,000 from LendingClub. They deposited $350 into my account and want me to buy $300 in steam cards and send them the codes on the back of the steam cards. And to keep the other $50 in my account. And once they receive the $300 in steam cards they will then go ahead and deposit the $40,000 loan. Does this sound like a scam? They haven’t asked me for any of my own money up front.
July 28, 2020
apple must be able to identify the consumers who use itunes card because those cards can not be redeemed anywhere else than at apple store ! so the thefts can be discovered!
August 03, 2020
Whats the scam behind when a lady friends you on social media then immediately asks for a gift card to update their phone. Can you address this scam.
September 21, 2020

In reply to by JB

I had this exact thing happen to me. They don’t need an iTunes card to update their phone or “fix” their phone. Once I busted them they got all mad lol
September 05, 2020
Husband just got scammed moments ago. $400 GONE. While I'm standing there saying "don't do it!" All the red flags were up, and he jumped in with both feet. Hook, line, and sinker.
September 06, 2020
This guys who claim to work with a US company and buying old coins, promising to pay huge amounts for the coins are all asking me to purchase an iTunes card apparently to complete the transaction. So it's all a scam?
September 16, 2020
It's just happened to me £550
September 21, 2020
I have a question would this situation I’m about to relate be a scam or similar? Someone online posing as a love interest asking for $50 but wanting an iTunes gift card to exchange for cash
September 21, 2020
At the moment, I have an exchange conversation with a strange guy in hangouts. It is almost same scenario with everyone had. He has long name (S******* W****** C******) or Capt. Alex. I met him in dating site Sweetmeet and he was the messaged first. We had short a conversation, and he suggested to continue our communication in hangouts. He is so sweet and always gives compliment. He always the one engage the question and story about himself. That he is a military man and widow and will about to get retire by end of next month, and planning to build hospital after his retirement. He said that his father died in the war when he was 7 and his mother died when he's 13 and he has 7 years old son. He even sent me a picture of his with his son. He seemed so sincere in everything he said. And you will be amazed by his goal and plans for the future. He always share his plans about building a harmonious family and be with him forever. He even offered you a work, living , travel with him in many countries he mentioned. He made you feel special and falling into him. And just last night he asked me get an Instagram account for him using my email address and I made one but only using my phone number. And he asked again an itunes card with a gift of 500 dollars because he has an urgency of paying the bills of his son and he couldn't able to run his bank account. And of course I didnt fell into his trap. And that's the time I do a research and I found and read the comments here. I deleted the Instagram account I made for him and I still have a communication with him and well aware. #sharingiscaring
September 27, 2020
But You will need to the Fedex ticket delivery card of $500 eBay gift card at any nearest store around you and get back to me on here with the copies of the card with the receipt showing fully so the FedEx man can deliver you your money as soon as your card has been confirmed.. This is a scam...
October 07, 2020
I met this guy on Twitter name Cooper Richardson. He said that he was from Louisville Kentucky but he was stationed in Syria. His wife died 5 years ago from cancer his daughter was in a boarding school and his parents got killed in a accident when he was young. We communicated only on Twitter for about a month and a half before he asked me to get an iTune card and send his daughter 100.00. I laughed so hard at this man. I asked him if he was crazy. He sent me pictures but I still didn’t believe it was him.
Victim 70
October 08, 2020
Has anyone talked to a guy by the name of William Adam who is supposedly working as an oil contractor on a rig in Columbia
November 02, 2020
Has anyone dealt with someone who stated they were in the military stationed in Germany, He's telling me that he has money sent a screenshot of a WORLD BANK account but is requesting an ITUNES Card to help him talk to me through Gmail Hangouts. I have never heard of this and I was married to a Marine who was stationed in Afghanistan who never needed Itunes card to talk to me thru hangouts or email let alone make a call to me. I have spoken to other military guys but never been asked for an ITUNES card or money straight off the bat, so Scam or No Scam? I also read that if I were to buy an itunes card here they cant use it in another country so why waste it. I dont even use Itunes
Kim Curls
December 26, 2020

In reply to by Dunesluv

scam!!!! same thing happend to me but i seen the red flags quick
Fan of keanu Reeves
November 27, 2020
On Facebook recently, I was almost scammed by man posing as the American actor Keenu Reeves. Told me to buy iTunes card to help the children and pets
December 13, 2020
I have been scammed 100 times, he told me that he is in Ireland and he wont take a pic where he is and he called me Mad cause I won't send him a €40 card, he wanted to change it for money for the taxi to go to Ballybofey where am I from
Kim Curls
December 26, 2020
Guys name is Grayson Martinez said his mom is spanish and his dad is german and said he was born in germany but grew up in usa he had a California phone number but would not call only texting which was an immediate red flag also wanted to chat on an app called hangouts met him on Tinder, has dog named Bobby said he was deployed in the military to Greece and loves the gym even has a video of him in the gym. connection is bad his phone gives problems wanted an itunes gift card but i caught onto his lies quick, english texting was bad
melissa my love
December 31, 2020
How do you upload pictures? I have a lot of Melissa from Houston
March 01, 2021
I am speaking to a female in the Army who claims she is on a peacekeeping mission in Iran. We've been chatting for awhile she told me they were almost attacked and that they had to shut off the Wi-Fi. She's asked me for an iTunes card to activate her phone so she can continue chatting with me. I am suspicious. She claims she can't call me and talk to me and she's not supposed to send me pictures of her because she's not allowed to do that. She does seem pushy for another iTunes card.
April 22, 2021
Someone told me I was approved for a us grant but need to purchase a iTunes gift card to pay fedex for delivery! Is it a scam ?
October 24, 2021

In reply to by Sheena

Its a scam, have been scammed as well, i was told i won an iphone and i need to purchase an iTunes gift card to pay FedEx , but now me in contact with this fedex person he was using a different logo on his email, thats how i noticed i am being scammed
Michelle 39 So…
May 03, 2021
Hi all this US military in Syria thing is raising a red flag. Is anyone else perhaps chatting to a Theo Scott Yapes?
B1236Don't use…
June 06, 2021
Met a guy on Yahtzee! Was so sweet and had and a Turkish accent. We communicated for about 6 weeks. He was 56 and lost his wife to cancer 5 years earlier and had a 13 year old daughter. I had a few red flags. Already wanted to give me a ring etc. Supposedly had money but...Then when he was out the country said he forgot to pay his iTunes. Wanted me to send him a $200 iTunes gift card so he could continue to talk and text me. For someone that had his own business , acted clueless that he could do it over his phone. I refused. He got defensive. Beware of a Christopher Williams from Omaha Nebraska on FB and Yahtzee!!!
August 06, 2021
I get so many of these emails, i don't have time to report them everyday, and they are always from different names
August 16, 2021
I am currently chatting to someone with a similar story to many of these. Widower who’s wife died in child birth. Parents died when he was little. He’s polish lives in Texas but a marine engineer on a boat in a contract he can’t get out of. Then he’s stuck in Venezuela. Wants iTunes cards to keep his connection so he can talk to me. His name is meek Masibay
August 24, 2021
I met a person while playing WWF. He asked that we converse through Hangouts. Claims his wife and daughter died in a fatal car accident, no family except for son living in London with Leukemia. Requested that I send ITUNES Gift card in amount of $200-$400. Very aggressive and adamant that he needed it for emergency. Claims he is an orthopedic working in Iraq and works on Missions where he has no access to video chat or other means of communication. The only means of contact was hangouts because of security purposes. I knew right away this was a scammer and urge others to be careful and not engage. Always be proactive and protect yourself. Don’t fall victim to any scams. These individuals are ruthless and will stop at nothing.
Earl slone
August 26, 2021
Need this ph number check out scammers are useing. To get money they tried. It on. Me. But. Didn’t. Work
September 12, 2021
my phone,privacy,indentity and security other people hacked,by irresponsible people.. I think people close to me