Watch Out for Unauthorized Charges From iTunes

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For years, consumers have complained about fraudulent charges through iTunes. The first signs of the fraud are an email from iTunes reporting charges that were never made. Or, you may check your credit or bank account and notice pending transactions from APL*ITUNES.

Here's the tricky thing about iTunes fraud: it's happening to people who have an iTunes account and those who don't. Users with iTunes actually have charges that go through their iTunes account.

The fraudster hacks into the iTunes account and purchases apps, games, music, books, or other items.

In other cases, criminals are "spoofing" the charges to make them look like iTunes charges. You can spot this fraud by going to your iTunes account and checking to see if there's a purchase that corresponds to the charge you see on your online checking or credit card account. If there are no charges on your iTunes account in the amount you see on your bank statement, it's more likely that your credit card itself has been compromised.

Thieves can also use stolen credit card information that they've phished or purchased on the internet and connect the details to an iTunes account. You'll see iTunes charges on your credit card account but no purchases in your iTunes account, if you have an iTunes account at all.

Make Sure It's Fraud Before Reporting

Before you call your bank or Apple to report the charges, make sure they're actually fraudulent.

If you have other devices connected to your iTunes account, a child's iPad for example, it's possible that they've accidentally (or purposely without understanding the consequences) made purchases on their device. In-app purchases are a common example of this where kids tap a button for more coins or to unlock parts of games.

Tips to Prevent iTunes Fraud

One way to prevent fraudulent charges on your iTunes account is to delete your credit card information from iTunes and instead fund your account with an iTunes gift card. You can purchase a gift card from most major retailers. The prepaid card will let you make purchases until the balance is depleted and then you can purchase a new card and load the funds onto your iTunesaccount. Thieves can still hack your account and make purchases with your gift card, but at least they're limited only to what's available on your gift card, not your entire checking account or credit card balance.

You can delete your credit card information from iTunes by going to Store --> View My Account. Click on Edit Payment information and next to "Credit Card," select the radio button next to "None."

You can also set security permissions on devices to require a password before the user can make purchases. You can also set it so that in-app purchases aren't allowed. This way your little ones can't accidentally rack up charges on your iTunes account.

What to Do About Fraudulent Charges

If you notice an authorization or charges from Apl*itunes for transactions that you didnt't make, contact your bank immediately.

Here are some Tips to Avoid Credit Card Scams and information about disputing inaccurate credit card charges.