Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2016

KU police: Scammers bilked two students who thought they were buying cars out of $8,500 in iTunes gift cards

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016

October 12, 2016


Two University of Kansas students are out thousands of dollars after falling prey to an online scam in which someone promised them vehicles in exchange for iTunes gift cards.

A student reported to KU police last week that he responded to a car-for-sale ad on what he thought was eBay and paid for the car with $4,500 worth of iTunes gift cards, but the car was never delivered, said Deputy Chief James Anguiano of KU police. Anguiano said the web page the student was on turned out to be a fake eBay site.

Another student reported being the victim of a similar crime in early August, Anguiano said. That student responded to an ad on Craigslist, and spent $4,000 in iTunes gift cards but never received his car either.

Anguiano said the students were asked to purchase the gift cards — which are sold at a number of retailers in increments up to $500 each — then scratch off the codes on the back and send them to the scammers via email. The scammers promised to make arrangements to deliver the cars after receiving payment, Anguiano said, but arrangements never came.

“If the deal seems too good to be true it probably is,” Anguiano said. “Anybody asking for payment with iTunes or other gift cards, it’s probably a scam.”

Anguiano said the cases still are under investigation, but the scammers are not believed to be local, as similar scams have been reported across the country.

A Federal Trade Commission scam alert posted earlier this year urges consumers who believe they’ve been the victim of such a scam to report it online at

“If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card,” according to the FTC post. “Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram.”

Anguiano also suggested victims report to their local law enforcement agencies.

Contact KU and higher ed reporter Sara Shepherd
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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 6 months ago

O.K. First,,,,,,,,,,why would you buy any vehicle that you have not seen, checked out with a mechanic and driven?

Why would you want to buy ANYTHING this expensive "on line"???

I was the prospective victim of scammers that tried to convince me my youngest son (who lives outside of Lawrence) had been arrested for a DUI charge. They told me if I sent them money for legal fees, they could "wrap this up before having to go to court" I told them I would get the money and get it to them. Then called my son who was sort of surprised, he does not drink. Then I called the police and the TV station who sent a crew to interview me. The only mistake I made was that I did not agree to meet them and bring the cops with me.


Bill Turner 1 year, 6 months ago

Because you're an international student from China who speaks English relatively poorly and has little or no knowledge about our society and what constitutes normal behavior and business practices.

Brandon Devlin 1 year, 6 months ago

Wait a sec. . .the idea of using iTunes cards to buy a car didn't seem a little shady to begin with?

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