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BBB warns scammers are asking for iTunes gift cards for payments

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Don't let thieves coerce you to use iTunes gift cards for payments, the Better Business Bureau warns. The gift cards are being exploited by scammers.

For years, scammers have encouraged consumers to send money through legitimate businesses like Western Union and Moneygram. Recently, however, they have turned to iTunes gift cards as the latest method to collect cash from victims in difficult to trace transactions.

The BBB ADVISES consumers to be extremely cautious of strangers asking them to put cash on iTunes entertainment cards to pay off back taxes, settle debts, obtain loans or grants or pay for merchandise. In almost every case, the strangers making the requests turn out to be thieves, and the consumers lose their money.

The BBB offers the following tips to persons who suspect they may be victims of a scam:

• If you receive a solicitation, a prize announcement, or a business or loan offer, confirm who is contacting you. If you cannot determine independently who you are dealing with, contact local law enforcement officials, your Attorney General's Office or BBB. If you can't confirm who they are, cut off contact immediately.
• Never pay anyone you don't know by using a wire transfer like Moneygram or Western Union, a reloadable cash card or any type of gift card. All these payment methods can be extremely difficult to trace.
• Avoid paying anything in advance for a loan or a grant. Do not pay anything to someone who is claiming to collect a debt unless you receive proof of the debt in writing.
• When purchasing merchandise, deal only with businesses you know or those you can validate. Be especially suspicious of unfamiliar companies offering online deals.
• When making purchases, pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge.
• Report scams to law enforcement or BBB scam tracker at https://www.Bbb.org/scamtracker/stlouis/.
• Research the company on the internet and by contacting BBB. Find a BBB business review by calling 314-645-3300, or by checking our website at http://www.BBB.org