Fraudulent iTunes charges

Stanchart.pngChannel News Asia reported yesterday that dozens of Apple customers have had hundreds of dollars each deducted from their bank accounts for purchases they did not make on their iTunes accounts.

This reminded me of my own experience last October. I received a SMS from Standard Chartered Bank that a transaction of S$150 for iTunes was charged to my credit card and to respond if I did or did not make the transaction (see above).

As I did not, I replied accordingly but did not get any further response from the bank. I thought that was that until I received my credit card bill.

The bill showed two charges of S$150 each from iTunes. I was aghast and immediately called the bank where the call centre person told me to call iTunes instead as these were already charged. After persisting that I did not make these transactions, she relented and said that the bank will put a hold on that amount provided I file a report so that the bank investigate.

She told me that the case can take months to assess and conclude. As of today (nine months later), I’ve yet to hear of any closure to the case — and I hope that everything has been settled.

My questions are:

  1. What’s the point of the SMS reply if the bank does not follow up?
  2. Since I have already indicated that I did not make the first transaction, why did the bank allow the second transaction?

Herein lies a process that is good in thought but flawed in execution. Obviously, somebody must have received my reply but nobody bothered to follow up with a call, thus letting the cheat get away with a second transaction.

From my experience, I’d like to share the following tips should you encounter a similar incident.

  1. Contact your bank immediately.
  2. Do not pay for any fraudulent transaction no matter what the call centre person says.
  3. Ask for the transactions to be investigated.
  4. File a report, if necessary.
  5. Ask for a replacement credit card as the details have been compromised.
  6. Change your iTunes password.

Remember, always check your credit card bill clearly and do not pay blindly.


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