Commissioner's Blog: Don’t gift iTunes cards to scammers

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerSenior

With Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard

If you don’t know much about iTunes gift cards, that’s music to scammers’ ears. Fraudsters call out-of-the-blue pretending to be a representative of a government agency, such as the Australian Tax Office (ATO), or they might pose as a utility company – they say you owe money and make threats to scare you, claiming you can pay off the debt with iTunes cards.

You might have seen warning signs about these sorts of scams on the gift card stands / carousels at major retailers. Despite those signs and repeated media stories and community education initiatives, there are still many people falling victim to iTunes gift card scams.

We regularly hear of seniors or vulnerable members of the community buying thousands of dollars-worth of the cards from supermarkets because they’re terrified of being arrested or deported, or worried their power, phone line or internet might be cut off.

Scammers behind these frauds are usually overseas and are very good at their job and use phone numbers that look like they’re in Australia.

It’s important to know no government agencies or utilities will ever make threatening cold calls and they never ever accept iTunes cards as a payment method.

If you or anyone you know gets a call like this put the phone down or if it’s a voicemail that’s been left, delete it. Never return the call. You can call WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54 to confirm a suspect call is a scam and that you are not in any trouble.

A way we can all fight back is to talk about this scam with relatives, neighbours and particularly people in our community who could be at risk, such as the elderly and new migrants.

If you work somewhere that sells iTunes gift cards and someone tries to buy thousands of dollars-worth in one transaction, talk to your manager or ask the customer to talk to Consumer Protection.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard, by CP Media
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard, by CP Media

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
30 Aug 2019

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