Alabama Attorney General warns about Grandparent iTunes Scam

iTunes gift cards for sale (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

iTunes gift cards for sale (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – According to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange his office received calls about an ongoing fraud regarding iTunes cards. A scammer would pretend to be a grandchild or another relative in need of funds.

Attorney General Strange says, “These thieves are preying upon elderly people who may not be familiar with what iTunes cards are, and would not realize it is not a legitimate request. They try to create panic about a loved one’s emergency, and push for immediate action before the victim has a chance to give the matter thought and take precautions.”

The scammer’s target would be an elderly person. The caller would claim a crisis such as being in jail, being stranded away from home, being hospitalized or having an urgent debt that must be paid.  The caller then asks the person to keep the matter confidential and to wire money or buy a prepaid credit or debit card. Currently the caller is asking the person to use their iTunes card as a form of payment.  They have also made alternate requests for Amazon gift cards, PayPal, and other prepaid cards.

The Federal Trade Commission advises people to ask questions that only the real relative could actually answer and resist the urge to act immediately and to verify the emergency if they receive such a call.  An iTunes card should not be required for payment unless one is shopping at an iTunes store, and not for a crisis situation.

Those who are targeted by such scams are urged to report the matter to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint, or to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658 or through the Attorney General’s website at www.ago.alabama.gov.