Fraudsters are dipping their toes in the water by making mysterious — yet familiar — charges on users’ credit and debit cardsOpens a New Window..
Recently, more scammersOpens a New Window. have been using iTunes as a disguise to make fraudulent purchases. According to financial site MoneyTipsOpens a New Window., the charge looks something like this: “APL*ITUNES.CON/BILL 866-712-7753 CA.”
The majority of the charges start out small (so small, the cardholder likely won’t notice them at first glance).
When you detect a charge that looks like the one above, MoneyTips recommends checking your purchase historyOpens a New Window. under the Apple account linked to the card in question to see if they add up.
“After you buy content from the App Store, iTunes Store, or make other digital purchases with your Apple ID, you can redownload your purchases on any compatible device. If you want to see a complete list of your purchases in chronological order, you can view your purchase history,” Apple explained in a blog postOpens a New Window., noting that you have to log in with your Apple ID to view the list of purchases in the App Store or iTunes Store.
If you notice any discrepancies, then it’s possible a scammer is either using your card to buy items on their own iTunes account or they’re “spoofing” charges from another vendor to show up under the iTunes label so you won’t recognize it’s not yours.
Cardholders should then contact their credit card company immediately to flag the issue. They should also change their Apple ID passwords and delete the payment method connected to the account.
“We should monitor our credit card use and look for evidence of identity theft,” cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman, author of “Identity Theft Alert,” told MoneyTips on Thursday.
Weisman said debit card holders, in particular, should be alert.
“There are a lot of people that are using debit cards and the debit card looks like a credit card. It isn’t. It comes out of a bank account that is connected with your debit card. But the laws regarding fraudulent use of your debit card are not as protective as that which we have with a credit card. So, my advice to people is you use your debit card only as an ATM card. The risk of identity theft is too great with that,” he added.
Apple warned customers to also be aware of App Store and iTunes gift card scams, which have plagued users in recent years.
“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,” the company explained on its websiteOpens a New Window..
Those who think they may be the victim of a credit or debit card scheme should contact local police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)Opens a New Window.. Apple said U.S. customers can also reach out to Apple Support onlineOpens a New Window. or call (800) 275-2273 if there are any concerns.
The FTC recently saidOpens a New Window. it received a whopping 3 million consumer complaints, including more than 1.4 million fraud reports, in 2018. Overall, Americans reported losing $1.48 billion — a nearly 40 percent jump from 2017.