SCAM: iTunes gift cards in exchange for thousands of dollars

Posted at 10:44 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 00:18:08-04

If you've gotten a phone call from a Brookhaven, New York, number and the person on the other end of the line is offering you thousands of dollars in exchange for iTunes gift cards, it's a scam.

After Bill Greenway found out he wasn't the only one in Central Texas getting these calls, he called the News Channel 25 tip line to warn others.

"I don’t want anybody else to have to fork over their hard-earned money and be scammed like that because they’re a trusting individual," he said.

The calls and voicemails from 630-503-9799 came in after he made a request for a loan approval online.

"Hi, William Greenway. This is Tom Brown calling from E-Loan Company. This call is regarding your loan application. It’s been fully approved at amount of $4,250," one of the scammers said in a voicemail.

He called them back, and they asked him for his banking information. He refused to give it. 

Instead, they told him to purchase iTunes gift cards from a CVS Pharmacy and to read their verification numbers over the phone in order for them to give him a loan.

"You need to get more than $50 to $500 iTunes, OK?" the scammer said in a phone call. "$50 to $500?" Greenway asked. "Yes," the scammer said. "That amount will be substantial to receive the $4,250. Is that correct?" he asked. "Yes, sir."

Once the verification code is entered in iTunes, the card becomes invalid, and only the person with that code on their account can use the funds on the card. That means that the scammer can ask a victim for the code without ever giving the victim the thousands of dollars they were told they'd receive.

"I felt it was a fraud already," Greenway said.

He went to the CVS Pharmacy on South 31st Street in Temple, where a clerk told him he wasn’t the only one getting these strange calls from a “Tom Brown” or a “Kevin Jones.”

"[The clerk] said, ‘Sir, that’s a scam. We’ve already heard his name, this guy, Kevin Jones, on the intercom before. And he’s scamming about 15 other people in the area,'" he said.

That's when he decided to get the word out.

"I called News Channel 25 to let everybody in the area or surrounding areas [know to] watch out for these scammers, because there's a lot of people out there that don't know [and are] not as technologically savvy as others," Greenway said.

Temple Police Department Det. Robert Mallett says this is just one of the scams affecting Central Texas.

"No one is going to give you free money. The government's not going to give you free money. Anyone asking for money upfront is not going to be legit. Just hang up the phone," Mallett said. 

Mallett says staying informed is the best way to avoid being scammed. But if you are scammed:

"They can report to the local law enforcement agency by just calling the regular non-emergency number. Doing this right now is getting it on television and people can see what's going on and have some knowledge beforehand. They'll hang up that phone," he said.

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