OT: Beware the almighty iTunes - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-20-2010, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I know this is off topic but I received permission from an AVS Moderator to post it here

I am a loyal Apple user of several devices including iPhone, iPad, et al

last week I saw some unusual activity on my account: purchases of movies I did not make: I issued a report on my iTunes account on line and asked them to investigate $30.00 of unauthorized charges

I changed my password, my security question, gave them a different credit card et al as suggested: they also told me to file a complaint with the the FTC for identity theft

as a result: my credit card is banned, my devices were disabled [from logging in]: and calls to 'support' say there is a problem with my account that will take several days to resolve

Next day after lots of calls and emails Apple did credit my account for the disputed amount, as a one time exception, and unlocked it: but the Amex credit card is permanently banned: I had to use a different card. I called Amex and there is nothing they can do except issue a new card.

Beware of issuing a customer service issue with Apple: it may backfire on you. If you dispute the charge with Amex, Apple will similarly ban the card

I think Apple made a simple billing error: they seem to be overrun with new iPhone orders and can't keep up: any other company would have investigated the charge and worked with me to resolve if first.

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-20-2010, 03:43 AM
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At least you stopped the bleeding just in the nick of time.

Very lucky only $30.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-20-2010, 03:52 AM
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Well, Jobs is a control freak... so they say.

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-20-2010, 05:25 AM
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Have you, by chance, made any purchases from monoprice.com this year between Feb 1st and March 16th? If so, there's where you should look for your source of the problem.

I had a mere $3.00 in $1.00 separate transactions against my Discover card on iTunes, which I knew were fraudulent purchases because a) my iTunes account had a "most recent purchase date: 12/31/09", and b) it isn't linked to my Discover card, but in fact my bank issued Visa card, and c) I had a $10.05 left on a $15 iTunes gift card remaining (to this day) on the account, so there was no need for a CC purchase in any case.

That same day I also had a discrepancy of $700 or so between my available credit and the credit limit minus known purchases, so I called Discover to have them go through ALL transactions with me, as that $700 was not showing up on my recent transactions page like all my known purchases were.

One of the unknown purchases was $148.45 at Old Navy, a place I'd never shop at because it's overpriced and doesn't really have much that I like. The other was a $539.40 purchase from MacWarehouse.com (CDW.com platform branded site). I haven't bought anything online for my Mac Pro since I ordered new RAM last year to upgrade to 7 GB.

The final set of transactions were those three $1.00 iTunes transactions.

All of this in one day, and I got very lucky in that because I check my CC "credit available" vs. "current balance", I caught these fraudulent transcations less than four hours from their post time! Yikes.

The cause of all this was a data breach at monoprice.com affecting customers that made purchases supposedly between the two dates I listed at the beginning of this post. I have a feeling it either has continued to be a problem, or was a problem prior to those dates, since I'm still hearing about people hit by this odd rash of theft that almost always seems to include iTunes transactions.

The common factor to check for with your CC company is this: All unknown transactions - were they done "online, by hand"? That was the common factor in my case.

In my case there was also one very ill timed twist to go into this already horrendous mix. Exactly two weeks prior to my CC info being stolen and used, I had obtained a new Fry's credit card. Well, Fry's credit cards require, for some stupidly unknown reason (perhaps their middle east owned banks aren't allowed to even touch Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion?) that you provide a valid CC # in full as "verification that you are credit worthy". Well in my case, that # was my Discover card that was used fraudulently online for the above purchases. This caused me to erroneously accuse the Fry's employees of CC theft (Sunnyvale Fry's, NoCal). Needless to say I was not pleased at making a fool of myself like that. But it does go to show that you need to constantly check your balance vs. available credit online and check them against each other.

Anywho, yeah, you're going to need a new CC#. Not much you can do about that, nor is there much I can do about it since I had to do the exact same thing with Discover. Thankfully I'm not liable for it since I caught it so fast. Hell, I caught it so fast that Discover actually thanked me and overnighted me a new card. I now use their online CC# generator exclusively when shopping online. That way only the merchant that the generated # was used for can ever use it again. That number cannot be used anywhere else, or for any purchase not related to the original purchase (the only purchases that a single online number can be used repeately with are recurring subscriptions). I highly suggest that if Amex has such a feature, that you use it. I guarantee it's worth the initial hassle of setting it up.

Anywho, good luck to you, and remember, always check those account details, daily if you can!

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-20-2010, 05:26 AM
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Sorry to hear that. My customer service experiences with Apple have been excellent - always extremely reasonable if not a step beyond that. Forex., got double-billed for a movie downloaded thru Apple TV. A quick phone call yielded a credit plus a free movie.

For me, Verizon has redefined how bad customer service can be.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-21-2010, 05:47 PM
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I *always* use "Shop Safe" for online purchases. This is a feature with my B of A-issued Mastercard that allows me to generate a new credit card number for each purchase and to set its limit at exactly the amount of the purchase. This greatly reduces the risk because even if the number is stolen, it is useless to the thief.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-21-2010, 06:26 PM
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AmEx used to have this feature but dropped it for some reason. Useless for recurring payments but I liked the extra security for one time orders.

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post #8 of 8 Old 06-27-2010, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Les Auber View Post

AmEx used to have this feature but dropped it for some reason. Useless for recurring payments but I liked the extra security for one time orders.

Discover's "Secure Online Numbers" can be used for recurring payments, but only from that one specific vendor/merchandiser. It's useless for anything but recurring payments against the originating purchase, and once a subscription is cancelled, a new # must be used to replace the old one if you reinstate the sub.

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