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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.

golden child
September 01, 2016

In reply to by FTC Staff

I tried that with no luck the website is hard to navigate to submit a complaint. I'm glad my posting has helped some innocent people who was at least smart enough to Google there numbers. It looks like they have new numbers that will try to scam from. I have not received any more calls like these I also use the block feature on my phone to immediately block those numbers after the attempted scam. These scammers won't stop until there behind bars. This is obviously there job when hardworking people are out at work. These scammer job is trying to scam. Let the keyword be TRY don't let them scam you. A word of advice if someone is loaning you money. your not required to pay anything before a loan that's why it is called a loan because you need money, not you pay money. Don't release any information to anyone asks you money if the scammer are pro they probably will try you again especially if you were caught once.
August 22, 2016

In reply to by mary

I got a call from these people but what is scary is they have all my information. My ssi address everything
September 15, 2016

In reply to by mary

My employee was contacted two days ago on her mobile from a number that started with 347 prefix. The scammer said she was from the IRS and she would call the courthouse if a payment wasn't made immediately for 7 years of back taxes not paid, about $9000.00. She had her walk to her bank, withdraw all her money ($3000.00), she walked her to 3 different stores, 7/11, Walgreens, and Jewel-Osco, a local grocery store and buy 9 ITUNES cards for about $450.00 each. The scammer was giving step by step instructions to my employee on where to go, turn left, turn right, clearly consulting a map, and maybe even accessing the GPS on her phone, as she reprimanded her for having walked into the bank as opposed to getting money from the ATM, shouting, "why did you go inside the bank?" The news here is that Apple has an ITUNES BILLINGS AND FRAUD DEPARTMENT THAT WILL REIMBURSE YOU. It took us 3 hours to get THE RIGHT AGENT ON THE LINE because no one at Apple knew about this department. The iTunes department kept saying if the account has been emptied, there would be nothing they could do, even a supervisor knew nothing about their own fraud dept, but FINALLY, I was connected to a this department and they informed me that they not only do they reimburse for the fraud if you bought the cards in an Apple Store, they also reimburse you if you bought the cards elsewhere, and ask you to make both a) a police report and b) a claim to the CORPORATE OFFICE of the store you purchased the iTunes gift card. Hopefully you have kept the receipts and iTunes gift cards, because they do need these. APPLE will reimburse the iTunes gift card contractor for the store you bought the iTunes cards from, and they should then reimburse you. Walgreens had a very hard time with this concept, insisting they could do nothing, so I am still working on them, but Jewel Osco and 7/11 knew about the procedure. Jewel Osco was the only one that said the money would be available for reimbursement in 72 hours! They were also very polite. All three gave me a claim number and filed a report so their specialists could call back in a few days. I will keep you posted
September 26, 2016

In reply to by Laura

Hi Laura Thank you for this information. I lost 4100. Only 1 credit card company reimbursed me. I called itunes who told me to call the head quarters of the department stores where I purchased them. They were no help. I will take your advice and try again. I am a Christian and praying for a solution. Thanks
FTC Staff
September 26, 2016

In reply to by Csara

Please report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

FTC Staff
October 12, 2016

In reply to by tony

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).

September 17, 2016

In reply to by mary

I almost just got scammed by a caller telling me he was calling from the IRS and that I was going to be arrested because I owe back taxes!! He wanted me to go to a CVS or Rite Aid drug store and purchase a gift card in the amount of $400.00. I almost fell for it until I started searching the internet while I was on the phone with the guy. I found this site and hung up the phone on him!!! He told me I had to immediately get in my car and go to the store all while keeping him on line so he could verify I made the purchase and then give him the information from the car. This was so I could prove to the IRS I was trying to settle my debt of 3200.
September 20, 2016

In reply to by mary

Even better, please add a 16 digit number we can give these scammers that will send the police to their address
September 22, 2016

In reply to by mary

Some one called me she said I have been selected to get a free money grants from the government and she ask me to call "Emma green" so I called. Emma green wants me to go to the nearest Walmart and said call her back again when I'm in the parking lot so I called her again and she wants m to buy that iTunes gift card for $250 and after it I will give her the pin. So i didn't do it she was like are you sure u don't want to get your $7600 plus the $250? I'm like Y would I buy that card? Then she stay on line and I'm like you know what cancelled that application and etc. scammers will do anything and say anything just to make it look like it's legit hahah I spoke with Indian people
October 04, 2016

In reply to by mary

First time taking a loan out , a guy name Jason Martinez from cash advance was helping me with a loan. He wanted my account info I gave it to him. My loan was 3000 for a car , he knew my situation I told him this is my first time taking out a loan. He gave me his number and he wanted me to send a picture of myself for my file... So I sent a fake picture at first then I sent my real picture.

He told me he was giving me money well the government was 500$ so I can build up my credit , I had to go to Walgreens got two iTunes card put 400 on one n 100 on the other which he told me to do. I sent him the code n he said I was going to get me loan.

He calls again hours later he told me his boss said I didn't qualify but not to worry I needed a few points to get the loan cuz my credit . So he provided me another 500 $ to get my credit up , so bascially did the same process again.

I told him I saved all my reciets the iTunes cards everything , n he texts me n says can he get a picture but just for him I said no I called him n I yelled at him about what's going on he clicked on me . I called again he said I will get my loan of 3000 n every month I have to pay 100$ which I was going to do.

I feel like this is a scam because I have not received my loan. But I don't get it what did he get out of me . They gave me 1000 total I didn't spend it I just did what he told me to do I gave it back cuz he said something about if I take off with the money I'm in trouble. & I still haven't got my loan.

FTC Staff
October 04, 2016

In reply to by Arie

You gave someone your bank account number and your picture. It's possible they could use this information to take money from your account, or to commit identity theft. You can check your credit report for free, to see if anyone opened new accounts or did anything using your name.

If your credit report shows identity theft, go to You can report identity theft and get help with fixing the problems caused by identity theft.

If there's a problem with the money he deposited in your account, you may have to repay it. For example, if he used a bad check to put money in your account, the bank will expect you to pay it back.

This FTC article tells you some warning signs of loan scams.

October 10, 2016

In reply to by mary

Cash advance told me I qualified for alone. And to put 229 on itune verification card. And money will be in account in 60 minutes. That sound like a scam
October 18, 2016

In reply to by mary

my case is slightly different. I applied for a loan of £3,000.00 they said the instalment would be £100 per month for 3 years. I said what's the catch.

To show I could repay the loan I need to buy a £100 iTunes card. I said what's that and he told me about it and where I could purchase, he then said tescos or Sainsburys. He said when I get the card to call them give them the number and that I should stay on the line whilst they take the number and I would see the monies sent to my account. He said when soon can I go to the shops I said that wont happen until end of the day. he says he's gonna call me today at 4.30pm when I said I finish work. His name is Mr Jack, indian accent contact number is 0208 144 2427 they have been calling me from yesterday. I called the number and they say there are loads of companies in the building. I wont be purchasing any iTunes card and I can see they will continue to keep calling me, but decided to check before I even decided to do anything because it was too good to be true. This is a very good site.

FTC Staff
October 18, 2016

In reply to by substance

Thank you for sharing your story. To help law enforcement, please make a formal report at You can give details about the call, and choose whether to identify yourself. The details help law enforcement agencies with investigations.

You can subscribe to recieve FTC scam alerts and consumer information at

Concerned women
October 23, 2016

In reply to by mary

So I met my boyfriend on a dating site and we got to know each other but a little later on he asked me to get him a credit card and I can't for reasons and we fought about it the later on again he asked me to get him a iTunes card and I said no and he said he needs it when I asked him why he never told me am I being scammed or can y'all help me
November 18, 2016

In reply to by mary

I got caught up in this iTunes scam and the joke is on me
December 05, 2016

In reply to by mary

Just to remind people, the IRS will never call you to demand money. They won't emsil you or text you, either. They use certified mail, and they will never accept iTunes gift cards for payment. Anyone calling you and demanding to be paid via a gift card is trying to scam you. Hang up after you've gotten their information and then report it to the FTC, so they can forward along to law enforcement, including FBI, IRS, etc. Also, Facebook is a data mining operation. If you don't need it for business, you're better off deleting your account.
January 04, 2017

In reply to by mary

My name is michelle and advance America. Took a hundred from me and told me that it will be on my card and wasnt .they have my lightbill and his name is mark wilson.
January 04, 2017

In reply to by mary

They call me today saying i had federal grant but the only way i can get this grant.... I had to get a 200 itunes gift card.... Don't u do it ppl its a scam... This is number they call from 347-772-8922
Ingrid Mettler
January 13, 2017

In reply to by mary

I just got a phone call about a suppose government grant of $9,400 that I was suppose to get through WesternUnion but I had to go buy a iTunes gift card with the amount of $250. The person on the phone told me to call her back as soon as I get the card so I had to give her the number. Total scam!!!!
January 15, 2017

In reply to by mary

I have a man who said he opened a bank account and in order for my debit card to be sent and activated i had to buy an itunes card amd semd it to his payroll person. Then i could have my $1500 allowance he was giving me.
JocelynDon't u…
January 15, 2017

In reply to by mary

I was a potential victim. Someone called me on my cell phone telling me that i was elegible for a $6,700.00 grant from the government! They gave me a number to call along with a confirmation number for my grant. I called the number & the representative told me that in order that claim my money I had to purchase an I-tune card I/a/o $250.00! I yelled this is a scam. I'm not paying anything for a grant. I hung up. This was actually the third time they contacted me. This time I had the time to call back and try to claim my grant. When I called back is when old me that in order to claim my grant I had to purchase an iTunes card for $250.00!SCAM!
Young tweez
February 15, 2017

In reply to by mary

I just received a phone call today from people claiming to be giving out 9,700 for grant money and i just signed up for school so I was convinced they were legit I almost went and spent the money and they told me I must go to my nearest Walmart and put 250.00 on a itunes card never if your receiving money should u ever have to send anything at all maybe somewhere to send it but never any money yes these people are real and I hope people can see from the beginning that these people are scam artist I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else....
somthing happened
February 20, 2017

In reply to by mary

I tapped on a site not knowing it was a N. U. D. E. Site and now I have 12 hours to pay a fine I need help I didn't know what the word was and it was fake and set up and I have 12 hours to 100 dollars and might arrested I neeeeeed help
March 10, 2017

In reply to by mary

I was asked to purchase a iTunes card of $50.00 and scratch the back and give him the code.
Sharon m
November 30, 2017

In reply to by Mary

A man in the army in afghanstan asked to buy his daughter 200dollars music cards send them to him in kabu
February 20, 2018

In reply to by Sharon m

Just curious what this guy's name was. I have received a similar request from someone in Afganistan.
March 17, 2017

In reply to by mary

I knew it must be a scam I let em praddle on incessantly until I heard," iTunes card n $250 " I stated 'definitely a scam -do not contact me again! 2027908403 their number....I'm sure they have altered it by now! Sad thing is, lovely if it were true...Alas, not so.I kept asking what country he was ringing from....he said 'dc' yeah, I don't believe so . thank you for listening. Don't purchase these cards!

December 30, 2017

In reply to by Vajravarhi3

I live in Maryland and 202 is definitely a D.C. area code. Still a scam, but he could have been in D.C. He also could have been spoofing a D.C. number but 202 is for sure D.C.
Mommy K
April 07, 2017

In reply to by mary

I think i got scam as well i wish i wouldve been more aware if the situation i panic cause they said they were going to get arrested with my child
April 20, 2017

In reply to by mary

I just had someone call claiming to be a lender called United. They offered me a $10,000 personal loan at an interest-rate. I was interested in since it is lower then one of the revolving credit accounts I have. So of course I listened, and then he indicated that there was a $300 fee to start the loan and that I had to go purchase three, $100 iTunes gift cards. That is when I started looking it up and found this. They make it very attractive and I am so sorry for the number of people that must get scanned over this.
Don't use your…
April 28, 2017

In reply to by mary

I got offered a loan from forrest loans but they want a 25 pound iTunes voucher first is it a scam
June 16, 2017

In reply to by mary

Is there any recourse to get your money back from the bank if this happens.
JoeyDon't use …
June 22, 2017

In reply to by mary

Well yes it's true I found out the hard way should have done some investigating and checked it out cause they got me for 350 dollars in itunes cards the number is 209-396-5998 and the persons name is Christiana and says she works for the United States Government Federal Grants Program
June 26, 2017

In reply to by mary

I was contacted by a guy that was supposed to be in the military. He started by being all interested in me, etc and hes in Afghanistan. about a week later he starts asking me to apply for Wal-Mart credit card I said I didn't qualify, I didn't really apply. So them he works down to an iTunes card, I'm thinking $25. No he wants like $500 or more! I don't have that! At first he was sending me money to help me and some to his kids through his lawyer but it quickly changed to this. And he said without the iTunes card he won't be able to talk to me. So I started googling to see what the card was for I thought was just for music, then I found this scam! Glad I did! Besides if u have properties and a lawyer he should be able to do it. I never sent anything, I blocked him!!
September 23, 2017

In reply to by Dolphin

I just had a love interest from an online dating site ask me to buy him an itunes gift card. He is also stationed in Afganistan. Lives in NC. Not communicating again.
July 07, 2017

In reply to by mary

Tango video chat and messaging is a new one to hit the scam, pretty woman asking you to send them an ITunes card so they can upgrade their phone. dumb as hell if you fall for this one, you want your phone upgraded go to your general settings and update it, ITS FREE, just be careful people
Princess des
August 09, 2017

In reply to by mary

Someone told me to buy a 15 dollar iTunes gift card and send him the code and he will send me money how do this work
FTC Staff
August 09, 2017

In reply to by Princess des

If you buy the iTunes card and tell him the code, he takes control of the card and the money on the card.

He wants you to give him something first, and he says he'll give you money later. It could be a scam.

August 22, 2017

In reply to by mary

Will claim into FTC helps to get money back ? I am a victim of iTunes card for 600$. What should I do to get money back ?????
FTC Staff
August 25, 2017

In reply to by Sasha

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.


The FTC can't help you with a personal case, but when you report scams to the FTC at it helps law enforcement. The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations.


The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

November 22, 2017

In reply to by mary

I tell you, i’m screwed. They $650, then they were asking me for a $100 more coz they said the other card is invalid. I was so stupid because I wanted a loan, thank u for this site. I should stop and just go borrow money to the bank, it was Advance America y’all.
December 21, 2017

In reply to by mary

I have a question if I was selling an item on Craigslist and some one responded saying they're interested in purchasing the items then sends me a email stating that he sent 300 but I only was supposed to get 200 the reason for the extra 100 is for payment of iTunes where I have to first purchase 100 dollars worth of iTunes gift card and send code to PayPal then they'll fund me the 200 is this a scam or is the person really telling me the truth he's saying it's for the safety of both party
FTC Staff
December 21, 2017

In reply to by Lyn

If someone says he'll pay you extra, but really you have to send him money (or iTunes cards) first, it's a scam.

January 11, 2018

In reply to by mary

My daughter just had a new experience. She applied online for a personal loan with a company she researched and felt was legitimate. They told her she would have to buy gift cards in the amount of the first payment to prove she will really pay it back. They told her she would have to provide the card numbers and security codes. This problem just keeps getting worse
January 18, 2018

In reply to by mary

im being hacked and controlled and abused and my family is
September 21, 2018

In reply to by mary

I was ask to go buy Google play cards but them put the money into my account .then they would do it once more add money to your account and do the same thing then they would give you the loan scam or not?
FTC Staff
September 27, 2018

In reply to by Anna

This could be a scam. If you buy a gift card and give someone the number from the card, they take control of the card. If you use your own money to pay for the gift card and they don't pay you back, you lose money.

A scammer could deposit a bad check in your account, so you think you have money to spend. But it could take a couple weeks for the bank to find out that check is no good. If you withdraw money, and then the bank finds out that check was bad, you will have to repay the bank.