BALTIMORE - iTunes gift cards likely showed up in a lot of holiday stockings, but if you don't protect the credit you were given to use on the site, a hacker may steal it right out of your account.
Jim Emert isn't exactly the easiest guy to get gifts for, especially when his kids ask what he wants. He says, "My first response is nothing and they never accept that so I always go for the iTunes gift card."
And after getting several of them, his iTunes account balance went as high as $170. But one day Emert made a shocking discovery. He says, "They zeroed the account."
Emert says he got an email from Apple, "It said my account on iTunes had been frozen and it was because my account had been hacked." Emert says the hackers spent all of the money buying apps for smart phones. He wondered, "Am I the only guy that's ever had his iTunes account hacked?"
Emert isn't alone. There is an ever-growing Apple support forum of people who have say their iTunes accounts have been hacked. It's been going on more than a year and now there are more than 65 pages in the forum with hundreds of replies. Most of them ask the same questions of Apple, wondering if they can get their money back. Emert was able to get a one-time refund.
But for many people, that's not going to happen, so you need to take steps to protect your account so you don't get hacked. Experts say you should change your iTunes password often. In addition, don't load all those gift cards onto your account at once; you'll lose less cash if hacked. And if check your iTunes purchases, if you see something you didn't authorize you should contact Apple and your bank to try and stop any new purchases from going through.
Apple tells ABC2 they're always working to enhance account security for users. Their rep says if you notice unauthorized purchases you should change your password immediately.