By now, most of us have realized that the IRS is not going to call you and demand money over the phone. Microsoft, Dell, HP etc. will not call you to inform you that your PC is infected.

The latest twist to come out of the ever-vigilant counter culture of nefarious scammers is to impersonate your boss and ask you to purchase iTunes gift cards. They usually email you posing as your boss, owner, CEO or other easily identified leader of your organization. The emails attempt to get you to think that he/she is in a very important meeting and must have iTunes gift cards as soon as possible to give as gifts to a very important new client. Here is a sample of an email I received recently:

I am in a meeting right now. I need you to run an errand for me at any Walmart,CVS,Target,Walgreens or Best Buy near you. I need iTunes gift cards to send out to a client today as thanksgiving gift. Confirm if you can handle this?

A lot of folks don’t want to run afoul of the boss, so they oblige and purchase the cards. The scammer instructs them to take pictures of the card numbers and email them to him. By the time he gets the numbers, your money is gone!

A couple of common sense ways to detect this fraud:

First, check the email address and headers (check with your IT support folks if you don’t know how to see the full headers). This will let you see where the email actually originated. Most of the time, it won’t even be your supervisor’s email address. If it is, call him/her. Chances are, the email account has been hacked.

Second, call your boss. If you can’t get through with a phone call, send a fresh email to his/her company email address. The scammers will probably tell you it’s their private email address. It is, it’s just not your boss’s email address.

Third, has your company ever used iTunes cards as gifts to clients? Chances are, it is not a part of your corporate gift strategy.

If you do give in and purchase the cards, what can you do?

Apple will sometimes reimburse you, contact them along with local authorities and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at You may not get your money back, but you have learned a valuable lesson.

The best way to avoid these types of scams is education. Ask your IT company to come onsite and give employees training. It’s necessary to educate them on security protocols and keep them updated on scams, malware, phishing and all the threats that are waiting for them on the Internet.

For more information, reach out to Common Sense Solutions. We can help keep you safe.


-Written by Marty Hooper of CSS