A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Scam alert: gift cards including iTunes cards

Apple the ACCC and the ATO are seeking to alert retailers and shoppers about a scam involving gift cards and iTunes cards. This, from the Apple statement:

A string of scams are taking place asking people to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection, and utility bills. The scams are committed using many methods, including gift cards. As the fraudsters are sometimes requesting codes from App Store & iTunes Gift Cards or Apple Store Gift Cards, we want to make sure our customers are aware of these scams.

Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula: The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment by purchasing App Store & iTunes Gift Cards or Apple Store Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the code(s) on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.

This from the ACCC website:

The ACCC is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers who are trying to con their victims into paying for scams with Apple iTunes gift cards.

During 2017 to date, reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch show 1236 people lost nearly $540,000 to scammers using gift cards as payments.

This is a growing trend: in the 2015-16 financial year losses were about $480,000.

“Scammers are increasingly getting their victims to pay with iTunes gift cards as they can quickly on-sell them and pocket the money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

This from the ATO website:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding Australians to stop and think before giving their personal details or hard-earned money to scammers this tax time.

Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said 48,084 scams were reported to the ATO between July and October last year.

“We have already seen a five-fold increase in scams from January to May this year and typically expect further increases during the tax time period,” Ms Anderson said.

As retailers, our roles are to ensure we are aware and to use our shopper communication platforms tom amplify warnings about scams, especially when they could connect with what we sell, such as gift cards.

Posting about this on your business Facebook page could be appreciated this time of the year.


Join the discussion

  1. pat

    got a phone call from “ATO” yesterday telling me federal police were on the way but i could avoid it blah blah.didnt get to the end as I had customers.
    It was a recording bty.


  2. Mark Fletcher

    Yes, that ATO call is doing the rounds and stressing plenty of people.


  3. Gavin

    The big chains have had signs up about this for a couple of years, but in that time they’ve become much more prominent.


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