Date Published: 

Mon, 21/08/2017

Residents are being warned by Bath & North East Somerset Council to beware of scammers demanding payments in the form of iTunes vouchers, after a lady in Bath was tricked out of £500.

iTunes vouchers appear to be becoming scammers' currency of choice. Typically, the victim receives a phone call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment for a fake utility bill or other services by purchasing iTunes Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). The victim is then asked to pay the caller by sharing the 16-digit codes on the back of the cards.

Scammers use iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value, just the serial code. 

Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down) Cabinet Member for Development, said:  “These scammers use high pressure tactics to take advantage of people.  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. If you're approached to use the cards for payment elsewhere you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it.”

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team have issued tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam: 

• If you are NOT purchasing an item from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or an Apple Music membership, do NOT make a payment with iTunes Gift Cards. There's no other instance in which you'll be asked to make a payment with an iTunes Gift Card.

• Do not provide the numbers on the back of the card to someone you do not know.

• Never give your bank details or any personal details to strangers over the telephone

•If you receive any call out of the blue and are asked for personal information, play it safe and hang up.

•Immediately report potential scams

If you, a neighbour or relative believe they have been targeted by this scam, please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline 03454 04 05 06 (Trading Standards will also be referred a copy of the complaint).

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