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Mass. Securities Division Warns of iTunes Gift Card Scam

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The Massachusetts Securities Division is warning investors, particularly seniors, of a telephone scam that asks for payment in the form of iTunes gift cards.

The division says that it has received a number of complaints from investors who’ve received calls requesting payment “on some pretext, asking that an iTunes card be purchased and the code on the card be provided to the caller.”

Providing the code “will give the caller control of the card, so they can either use it themselves or sell it,” the division said.

The scam is a variant of calls that claim a consumer owes taxes, has an unpaid hospital bill, or that their Microsoft license key is about to expire.

Another version of the fraudulent claims, the division says, claims that the consumer is “the recipient of a government grant, but must make a payment first.”

Federal or state government agencies and legitimate businesses, the division warns, “do not request payments with iTunes gift cards,” and notes that Apple, which is aware of the scams, has posted information on its website that addresses issues regarding them.

Some of the scammers seeking iTunes gift cards claim to be debt or tax collectors, and threaten to call the police or fake calls from police. The division urges investors with concerns to contact the Secretary William Galvin’s office at 800-269-5428.

The Massachusetts alert comes as the Internal Revenue Service warns both tax professionals and taxpayers of last-minute phishing email scams, especially those requesting last-minute deposit changes for refunds or account updates.

Tax-related scams of various sorts are at their peak, the IRS warns, as the April 18 tax filing deadline looms.

“Cybercriminals are ever evolving and make use of sophisticated scams to trick people into divulging sensitive data,” the IRS warns.

For example, the IRS notes that scammers may pose as taxpayers asking their tax preparer to make a last-minute change to their refund destination, often to a prepaid debit card.

Tax preparers should “verbally reconfirm information with the client should they receive last-minute email request to change an address or direct deposit account for refunds,” the IRS states.

The IRS also suggests that tax professionals change and strengthen their own email passwords to better protect their email accounts used to exchange sensitive data with clients.

— Check out IRS Warns of Obamacare ‘Tax Bill’ Fraud; Names Private Tax Collectors on ThinkAdvisor.


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