The U.S. Treasury Department has issued a scam alert for people trying to trick victims into paying false “back taxes” with iTunes Cards. While many reading this article might think no one could fall for that, CNBC said that the Treasury Department reported more than $54 million has already been lost to the scam.
The scan alert from the Treasury Department:
Any caller requesting taxpayers place funds on an iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards to pay taxes or fees is an indicator or fraudulent activity,
Make sure the people who count on you for tech help know how not to fall victim to this scam. More broadly, it’s always good to remind our friends and loved ones how to identify these kinds of scams, and not to hand out credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other identifying information.
iTunes Cards Are All But Money
The reason iTunes cards are used is that they are all but untraceable once purchased. The bad guys can sell the cards on real and black markets, or they can just launder the money through theoretically legit apps, books, etc.
CNBC details the way this particular scam works, but it starts with threatening phone calls or emails. The scammer says that the IRS is going to file a lawsuit against the victim over back taxes—a threat that will resonate more strongly with anyone who actually knows they owe back taxes. The scammers say they can bypass the lawsuit by paying with iTunes Cards.
Again, I know that sounds ridiculous, but people do fall for this, just like they fall for malware webpages that (sort of) look like the FBI is demanding you pay a fine for having porn on your computer.