Gardaí issue warning about iTunes gift cards scam

Gardaí have issued a warning to the public over a scam tricking people into purchasing iTunes gift cards.

The alert was raised after gardaí in Cork recently received a report of an attempt to defraud a business via email.

The email was sent by a person claiming to be the manager of the company and requested that a staff member purchase €2,000 of iTunes gift cards and send on the voucher numbers.

Thankfully the employee contacted their manager by phone to verify the request which turned out to be a scam.

Gardaí say this is a new variation in the scam which previously operated via phone.

That scam involved a victim receiving a phone call, voicemail or email from the scammer, claiming to be a representative of an organisation, in which they would claim the victim owes money.

Upon contact with the victim, the scammers would insist immediate payment is required, suggesting the payment needs to be made by purchasing iTunes gift cards from a retailer. In some of these cases, victims are told they are facing criminal charges.

Once the victim has purchased these cards, the scammers will ask the victim to share the 16-digit code on the back of the card over the phone. The scammers would then use this code to purchase goods online.

Gardaí are advising people to be vigilant and suspicious of any calls, voicemails or emails from people claiming to represent a company, or organisation that you may be a customer or employee of. They may ask you to purchase gift cards or vouchers.

The scammer may have some information about you, so do not trust them just because they use your name or have other personal information, gardaí have warned.

Gardaí say no company will request payment via iTunes or any other online vouchers. If you receive a call like this, end the call and contact Gardaí.

The advice from gardaí is to always say "NO” to unsolicited callers or texters seeking personal information about you. Personal information can include your name, address, date of birth, family details, bank account numbers, PIN or passwords.

Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station in Cork today, Detective Superintendent Healy said: "We fear that this is an emerging scam and would urge people to be vigilant.

"The retailers of such cards should also be vigilant and commended for previous actions preventing the scam by highlighting concerns when elderly persons attempted to purchase high-value amounts of gift cards.

Please remember, 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. If you fear you have been a victim of this scam or any other scam for that matter, please pick up the phone and call Gardaí."

- Digital Desk

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