Adulting 101: iTunes credit card fraud

I’m 23. It’s about time I call for my own prescriptions, doctor, dentist, and hair appointments. So, when I noticed my Visa was involved in credit card fraud, I knew I had to call my bank on my own, too.

I occasionally shop online, book flights and hotel or Airbnb rooms with my Visa, pay for my Rutherford library late fees through the electronic service, and I have monthly subscriptions to Netflix, CraveTV, and Apple Music. But when I noticed an unauthorized $125 charge on my Visa from iTunes, I knew that wasn’t my monthly fee for Apple Music. The $14.99 charge for family sharing occurs on the second of every month, but the three unauthorized charges — one for $25 and two for $50 — were made on the 19th of March. It was time to adult.

I called the 1-800 number listed on my Visa statement, talked to a robot who could understand “complete sentences,” and remained on the line for around 15 or 20 minutes while being serenaded with elevator music before speaking to a human. The human told me to contact the provider where the purchase was made, saying this red flag from Apple has become frequent. He gave me the number for iTunes billing and I was on my way.

I dialed the next 1-800 number and spoke to yet another robot. This one wasn’t quite as helpful. Maybe it was still learning how to understand complete sentences, or it couldn’t quite decipher my swearing and shouting for “BILLING” and “CUSTOMER SERVICE.” It directed me to technical support instead where I waited with more hold music before talking to a human. Apple’s hold music situation is much better than Visa’s. I was given a choice of music: press one for “modern hits,” press two for classical, press three for jazz, and press four if you want to wait in silence. I was tempted to press four because I like the sound of silence, but I chose one and was greeted by the Weeknd.

A cheery Scottish fellow interrupted “Can’t Feel My Face” and walked me through getting to my account information, because I’m Aunty Grandma after all. Apparently, you can check your purchase history online. Who knew. The weird thing was no $50 or $25 purchases showed up in my history, just the $14.99 once a month. I guess this wasn’t weird because I knew I didn’t make those purchases.

From there, he knew I needed to be switched to billing (which I tried to tell the robot), but he stayed on the line and made sure I was all set up. The next lady got straight to the point. She said there was another account affiliated with my own iTunes account. I knew it wasn’t me because my whole family is on one account, hence the family sharing, which is convenient but also not great when I get my dad’s Skrillex recommendations and my mom’s Shawn Mendes playlists. She explained this other account made three gift certificate purchases, totalling $125. The worst part was she couldn’t refund me because they were gift certificate purchases. She told me to contact Visa again, tell them it’s fraud, cancel the card, and get a new one.

I was back on the elevator music train, waiting to explain the situation to yet another robot and human. They checked my card number, looked through the notes from the previous conversation, and knew the whole situation. They said unfortunately this is a common trend with Apple lately, where gift certificates have been purchased with someone’s card (but not account), and Apple can’t refund them. It even happened to the guy I talked to at Visa. He cancelled my card immediately and said they would refund the $125 in a few business days. I’d also be issued a new card with a new number.

It was a minor inconvenience, and kind of scary, but I know it could have been a lot worse. Although this debacle took up my whole Saturday morning, and now I have to wait for the new card to come in so I can update my subscription services (at least Netflix and CraveTV, I haven’t decided what to do with Apple Music yet), I’m proud that my level of adulting has increased to phone conversations about my banking information, and I’m glad I caught the fraud early so there hopefully won’t be any other mysterious charges to my Visa. I’ll be checking to make sure I’m only getting charged the usual $2.50 from the Daily Grind, and $7.51 from Beez in HUB, but if there’s a $50 charge from the Daily Grind, I’ll know something is up and now I’ll know what to do.

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