North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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iTunes gift cards used in “Grandma, it’s me!” scam

Thursday, May 07, 2015


Scammers pulling off the Grandparent scam have found a new way to get their money. A Charlotte-area senior recently reported paying $26,000 to grandparent scammers using Apple iTunes gift cards, supposedly to bail a grandchild out of jail on DWI charges.

At the scammer’s direction, the grandparent purchased 52 Apple iTunes gift cards over three days, each card loaded with $500. The scammer, still masquerading as the grandchild, got the grandparent to read off the numbers on the back of the cards over the telephone and made off with the money.

Scammers are constantly looking for new methods to update old cons. Traditionally, the grandparent scam asks victims to wire money via Western Union or Moneygram. Now, some scammers have started demanding payment via prepaid credit card, reloadable debit card or gift card

To protect yourself from the grandparent scam and similar frauds:

  • Hang up on calls from “grandchildren” or others who claim to be loved ones in trouble. For quick confirmation that everything is OK, immediately call the person on a phone number you know is really theirs, such as their cell phone.
  • Be deeply suspicious whenever someone contacts you and demands that you send money quickly, whether they request payment by reloadable debit card, prepaid credit card, or wire service.
  • If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.