Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Check Your iTunes Purchases

Here's another reason to pay detailed attention to purchases charged to your credit and checking accounts. Rapant fraud has been running around for some time connected to iTunes. This article from the Consumerist points to a story that ran on Fox news.

The story is that some consumers are finding fraudulent iTunes purchases on their accounts. You don't have to be a user of iTunes to become a victim. As Fox reported no one seems to know how these purchases occur or who is behind them. The only way to solve the problem once you've been hit is to report it to the financial institution and close the account.

Curiously over at WiseBread writer Torley Wong tells of the experience he had while searching on eBay. Wong found numerous sellers of iTunes gift cards for cheap, very cheap. These auctions were also a hotbed of activity. Wong eventually purchased a $200 value gift card for just $47. He was emailed the card information. He then went to iTunes to try it out. The card code worked and his iTunes account was indeed credited for $200. But Wong is not dishonest and the experience left him queasy thinking that it was somehow unethical.

Even my poor detective skills smell that Wong may have hit on stolen account data. Possibly this is connected to what Fox is reporting. But, however, I leave the sorting of the fraud details to someone else.

Meanwhile, it's vital that you watch your transactions. If you have several people signing on to your iTunes account like our family does it can be easy to just gloss over the charges. You've got to look at the detailed receipts and confirm that the purchases are legitimate. Often the thieves will test the waters by making a small $.99 purchase. If they are successful then they go in for a bigger hit.

Remember, however, you do not need to have an account with iTunes to become a victim. These charges will show up with APL*ITUNES in the description. I use to manage our spending and usually Mint will throw the iTunes purchases into miscellaneous. So I need to check for the APL *ITUNES description to review these transactions.

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