Hackers targeting Apple iTunes accounts

Don't Waste Your Money

Millions of people have iPods, and purchase their music from Apple's iTunes store. But lately, a number of them have found strange purchases on their iTunes accounts, some to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

Strange purchases after loading Gift Card

Andy Collins  uses his iPod Touch to buy music all the time. So he was thrilled to recently receive an iTunes gift card.

But soon after loading it, he discovered someone else had used his card at the iTunes store.

Andy said "there were a couple of movies that had been purchased, a couple of songs, some apps for an iPad, that sort of thing."

A hacker had broken into his iTunes account, downloading apps to a faraway computer. Worse, the hacker stole not just from the gift card but from Andy's credit card linked to the account.

"It was $70 on my credit card, plus the $10 gift card that was used, so $80 total," said Andy.

Hacked After Using Free WiFi

Debbie Piper is also a recent victim of an iTunes hacker.  It happened when she opened itunes on a Chicago hotel's free WiFi network.

"I had brought my iPod with me and plugged it into the laptop computer, using the hotel's WiFi access," said Debbie.

The hacker downloaded movies and apps to the tune of almost $300, she told me. Even worse, the $300 came out of a debit card hooked to her account.

Many Complaints Online

Online blogs are filled with similar complaints about itunes accounts hacked. Apple's own message boards show thousands of views on this topic. Click here to view the Apple iTunes hacking forum.

Apple has not issued any public comment. But tech websites have some suggestions:

  • Only link a credit card to an iTunes account, never a debit card.
  • Set your iTunes account so you have to log in with a password to make a purchase.
  • Don't open your iTunes account on free public WiFi.
  • And check for unusual activity if you use a gift card: It appears some gift cards may be compromised.

Andy and Debbie would just like to see some official resolution. Andy said "it would be nice if they could resolve the problem they are having."

What to do

If you find anything suspicious with your iTunes account, the first thing to do is to change the password on your account, which will keep the scammer from getting back into it.

Then contact your credit or debit card issuer, or PayPal, and report it as fraud.

And, again, don't use a debit card with iTunes....so you don't waste your money

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