Learn How to Deal With Unauthorized Charges From iTunes

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For years, consumers have complained about fraudulent charges through iTunes. Often the first sign of the fraud is an email from iTunes reporting charges that you never made. Another common first sign is to check your credit or bank account and notice pending transactions from APL*ITUNES.

Spotting a Fraudulent iTunes Charge

Here's the tricky thing about iTunes fraud: It's happening to people who have an iTunes account and also to those who don't. Users with iTunes accounts may have charges that actually go through their iTunes account. In this instance, the fraudster has hacked into the iTunes account and purchased apps, games, music, books, or other items. Consumers who do not have iTunes accounts can still be victims of spoofing or phishing.

It is possible to have fraudulent charges which have been spoofed to make them look like iTunes charges. You can spot this type of fraudulent charge by going to your iTunes account and checking to see if there's a purchase which 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 likely your credit card itself has been compromised. You'll need to dispute those charges and, most likely, have a new card issued.

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. In this case, you'll see iTunes charges on your credit card account but no purchases in your iTunes account.

What to Check Before You Report Fraudulent Charges

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. Kids often make these in-app purchases by tapping a button for more coins or to unlock parts of a game.

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 to 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. At that point, you can purchase a new card and load the funds onto your iTunes account. 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 and your credit card information will be safe.

Screenshots showing how to remove your payment details from iTunes
Deleting Payment Details From iTunes.

You can delete your credit card information from iTunes by going to Account > View My Account. Click Edit next to your payment type, and then None next to the payment method.

You can adjust your 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 didn't make, contact your bank immediately. It may take some time to resolve the charges, but the sooner you contact your bank, the quicker you'll cut off the fraudsters' access to your funds.