On Tuesday 6 February 2018, Police received a report of a successful iTunes gift card scam where the victim lost a substantial amount.
A local resident had been contacted on his landline by a male claiming to be from British Telecom. The fraudster stated that there was a error with the internet connection. Whilst on the phone the fraudster gained access to the resident's computer. A list of computer applications were brought onto the screen, some showing "established" and "stopped". The resident was told that the "stopped" applications had been hacked. The fraudster then advised the resident to purchase a quantity of iTunes gift cards. These were to be purchased in different values in different stores to minimise attention. The fraudster then arranged to call the resident back later, when he had the iTunes gift card.
The resident visited a number of stores and purchased a substantial amount of gift cards.
As arranged by the fraudster, a call was received later that day where the resident provided the 16 digit number on the back of the cards.
How the scam works:
- You get a call from someone which instils urgency or panic.
- They claim your computer has been hack, has a virus, you owe money for taxes, hospital bills, you are paying for goods, services or investment opportunities.
- They state you need to purchase large amount of iTunes gift cards as payment. In some cases, they state you will get a refund from the company, they claim to be from.
- Once the iTunes gift cards are purchased, you get a call asking to pass over the 16 digit serial card on the back of the card. Once that number has been shared, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact Apple or Police.
Advice from Apple:
- iTunes gift cards can ONLY be used to purchase gifts or services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store or for an Apple Music Membership. If you are approached to use the cards for payment outside the above, then it is likely, it is a scam.
- Do NOT provide the 16 digit number found on the back of the card, to someone you do not know.
- Report immediately
Advice from Hampshire Constabulary:
- Never accept offers over the telephone, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never give your personal details out over the telephone.
- Report any suspicious calls to your telephone provider. Most telephone providers will block anonymous caller.
- Consider registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) on 0345 070 0707 or visit their website - http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
- Never give out your debit or credit card details or your PIN number. The information is never requested legitimately by your bank or Police.
- If you feel that something is wrong, hang up.
- If you think that you have fallen victim to a scam, please contact 101 or in an emergency 999.
- Report fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website - https://actionfraud.police.uk/
Please consider sharing this information on to friends and family to help raise awareness of these particular scams.
Your help is vital in stopping the scams.
PCSO 15938 Ellis Parish
Longmoor Neighbourhood Policing Team