Apple Gift card Scam: What is it? An Overview

Apple Gift card Scam: What is it?

Payments for taxes, medical expenses, bail, debt collection and energy bills are just some of the many scams that are being perpetrated against unsuspecting victims by requesting money over the phone. Gift card scams are just one of a number of ways scams are perpetrated.

App Store & iTunes Gift Cards or Apple Gift Cards are sometimes requested by fraudsters to obtain the codes needed for the fraudulent purchases.

How to be aware of the scams involving Apple Gift Cards, App Store & iTunes Gift Cards, and Apple Store Gift Cards?

Whatever the motive for payment, scams follow a set pattern:

  • Upon receiving the call, the victim feels a sense of impending doom and is compelled to buy iTunes or App Store Gift Cards from the nearby merchant (convenience store, electronics retailer etc.).
  • Callers ask victims to pay by sharing their credit card codes with them through phone after they’ve purchased their cards.
  • You should be aware that App Store and iTunes Gift Cards can only be used to purchase goods and services from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, for an Apple Music membership, or to store files in iCloud.
  • If you purchase an Apple Store Gift Card, you can only use it on the Apple Online Store and in Apple Retail Stores.
  • Using the cards for any other purpose is a strong indication that you’re the victim of a scam and should be reported immediately to the Action Fraud.
  • Even calendar invitations can be used by scammers to target their victims.

What are the known Apple Phone Scams?

Hackers are constantly coming up with new scams, but here are a few of the more well-known scams:

Apple ID locked

This fraud is sometimes used in conjunction with the scam involving a fictitious receipt. After entering your information on a false Apple page after clicking on a spoof email link, you may receive an alert saying that your account has been locked because of suspicious behavior. As a last step, it will present you with a “unlock” option that needs you to enter personal information such as your name and Social Security number. Scammers may send an iMessage warning that your Apple ID has been locked because it is soon to expire, leading you to believe the fraud is real. If you respond to the message by filling out a form, you’re giving the hackers access to your personal information.

Apple ID order receipt scam

Emails purporting to be sent from Apple, claiming that your ID has been used to make an online purchase, usually with a PDF receipt included as “evidence,” are common in this type of fraud. Either confirm or pay for the purchase will be requested in the email.

Apple phone – Calendar invitation scam:

Your iCloud calendar could be inundated with an invitation from an anonymous sender inviting you to a meeting or event, frequently with the promise of quick cash, pornography, or drugs. By responding to the offer in any form, you put yourself at risk of falling victim to phishing or at the at least, receiving additional spam. Please be aware not to click the unknown link.

Scammers increasingly demand payment by gift card: How to find? 

Scammers are getting better at producing emails, texts, and other forms of communication that are more convincing:

  • If you’re dealing with an established business, they’ll normally use your full name when addressing you. “Dear Friend” is a common phrase used by scammers.
  • To view the complete email address of a particular sender, simply place your cursor over their name in your inbox. To be safe, don’t open any attachments that purport to be from Apple and instead use a random string of letters and digits as the sender’s address.
  • Accurate, precise, and unambiguous communications are the hallmarks of reputable companies.
  • Phishing schemes sometimes use emotional manipulation or a false sense of urgency to get you to act immediately.

Tips to avoid the Apple (iPhone / iPad / MAC / Watch) Gift Scam

  • You should never give out your credit card information to somebody you don’t know. Scammers will likely use the card’s funds before you have a chance to alert Apple or law enforcement about the theft.
  • Never give out the gift card numbers to anyone you don’t know.
  • Apple Store or iTunes Gift Cards should not be used to pay for anything other than a subscription to an Apple Music service or iCloud storage if you aren’t purchasing it directly from the company. In no other circumstances will you be requested to pay using one of these cards.
  • Any scams should be reported immediately to the Action Fraud.

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