Don't gift a scammer iTunes cards
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers who are trying to con their victims into paying for scams with Apple iTunes gift cards.
During 2017 to date, reports to the ACCC's Scamwatch show 1236 people lost nearly $540,000 to scammers using gift cards as payments.
This is a growing trend: in the 2015-16 financial year losses were about $480,000.
"Scammers are increasingly getting their victims to pay with iTunes gift cards as they can quickly on-sell them and pocket the money," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
"If someone asks you to pay for anything using an iTunes gift card, it is a scam. There are never any circumstances where a legitimate business or government department will ask for payment this way," she said.
"The scammers are very persistent once they have a victim hooked and will, for example, keep their victim on the phone while they're in a store buying the gift cards. Once a victim has bought the card, the scammer will get them to quickly read the serial number on the back - it's this information they use to then on-sell the gift card," Ms Rickard said.
"If you pay for a scammer's con with iTunes gift cards it's nearly impossible to get your money back. Don't ever believe the scammer's lies, no matter how convincing they sound - hang up on their calls and delete their emails immediately," Ms Rickard said.
Apple's website clearly states iTunes gift cards can only be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.