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Scammers Asking You to Pay Taxes with an iTunes Card

Scammers Asking You to Pay Taxes with an iTunes Card

May 2, 2016

The federal government warned consumers in late April that scammers are singing a new tune when they’re pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service or U.S. Treasury.

Now, some scammers are demanding that you pay your back taxes via an iTunes Gift Card.

RELATED: Apple ID Scam Alert

Yes, an iTunes card. 

I’ve been warning about the crooks who pretend to be from the IRS for a few years now. The scam can take various forms. At one point, the IRS warned that the crooks might try mailing or faxing falsified forms to seem more legitimate.

Sometimes, the fraudsters sound like the real deal because they rattle off your Social Security number, or at least the last four digits, so it might appear like they know what they’re talking about here.

And many are very aggressive and downright nasty when they threaten jail time and demand money on the spot.

But now, they want money on an iTunes card. In some cases, fraudsters can use an iTunes card to buy a product or they can re-sell those cards online, according to Adam Levin, founder of Identity Theft 911.

Levin said scammers also have asked victims of the so-called Grandparents Scam to load money onto multiple iTunes gift cards.

“Vulnerable senior citizens who believe their grandchild is in danger and that they must pay to get them out of jail or harm’s way are then directed by the fraudster over the phone to read them the serial numbers off the back of the card,” Levin said.

RELATED: 15 Signs You Could Be a Tax Scam Victim

The fraudster then uses that information to sell the gift cards online and receive cash.

Levin offered another iTunes related warning: Consumers would be wise to avoid the scam man who is peddling a promotion for an iTunes card via social media or a spoofed email. If you click on that link, you’d download a malware infected link and the fraudster can get access to bank account information.

Tax officials in Canada have issued similar warnings. Calgary police reported that a woman was defrauded after putting $20,000 on iTunes cards in order to avoid a threat of jail time for unpaid taxes. She reportedly received a call April 20 from the Canada Revenue Agency. 

The caller told the victim he was at the courthouse attempting to have the arrest warrant removed, according to the Calgary police.

“He then noted that the warrant had been re-issued and once again told the victim that more money was required to have the arrest warrant removed,” the police said in a statement.

The con artist was convincing enough to scare the woman into going to her bank to withdraw more money. But then she also contacted a family member to ask for money, too.

“The family member contacted police, who were able to locate the victim and stop the fraud,” the police said.

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Article published on the Detroit Free Press website.