iTunes scam: Why fraudsters are demanding payment with vouchers

Police are warning people to be alert to scammers demanding payments in the form of iTunes vouchers. There are a number of scams taking place, asking people to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection, and utility bills.

iTunes vouchers are becoming scammers' currency of choice as iTunes gift cards are untraceable and instant.

How does this scam work?

Typically, the victim receives a call, with the scammer suggesting an urgent payment needs to be made by purchasing iTunes gift cards from a retailer. In some cases, the victims are told they are facing criminal charges. According to Apple, which has issued a warning about these scams, the victim is then asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.

"By the time these scams are reported to us, the cards have already been on-sold or redeemed by the scammers," the Australian Taxation Office's assistant commissioner, Janine Clark, said. "The scammers don't need the actual physical card. They just need the gift card number."

What to do if you get a call like this:

- Hang up.
- Do not respond to numbers supplied in an automated call.
- Delete any messages left on an answerphone or voicemail service.
- Speak to someone you trust about the scam call to put your mind at ease.

Real story

A Melbourne woman has lost more than $46,000 after being conned into buying more than 300 iTunes gift cards for scammers.