Just yesterday as I was speaking to my friend about her settlement check for her car accident, I checked my email to find multiple emails (I’m talking 16 to be exact) from iTunes saying ” Your receipt #” with an order number following it. At first, I thought it was spam mail, but then my gut told me to open one. I opened the email to find out that a purchase was made in the amount of $149.99. My stomach dropped to the floor and my body froze.
After going through a moment of shock and my friend still on the line, I opened all 15 emails that followed the first one. As I opened each one to see the same $149.99 charge ($149.99 x 16, you do the math), I was speechless. I told my friend of the situation and got off the phone immediately to make a call to iTunes. Unfortunately, iTunes/Apple had closed shop for the day, at least the customer service end of it.
I had to think quickly and immediately and called Paypal, since the payment transaction, happened through them. First, I had to go online and chat with an automated customer service chick about my situation (I probably have not sworn that much in my life). Seriously, getting a phone number should not be that hard. The whole process just infuriated me (Note: Paypal just put a phone number on the Contact Us page).
After getting the number and almost losing my sanity, I called Paypal to let them know what was going on. I spoke with a guy named Al who was a representative for Paypal Credit Card. Eventually, after both of us being confused for a good 4 minutes, he transferred me to the appropriate people. Once I was on the line with them, I had to tell them the situation all over again and guess what? They passed me onto the security department. It just felt never-ending.
By the time I had reached the security department, my mouth was dry from speaking to everyone along the way, I just wished it was a bad dream. They reassured me that this was an ongoing issue with iTunes and it was more common in recent months. Apple? Aren’t they a multi-qua-trillion dollar company? Security Breach? What?
So after they canceled the transactions and requested a refund, I went onto Google to do a search on “itunes hacking” and it came up with 16,500 results. Wow! Everything from iTunes developer being kicked to the curb, Facebook site dedicated to iTunes hacking, and real stories of victims like me. It’s quite scary that a company like Apple can’t get rid of a problem like this. Do something quick!
After losing sleep, calling Paypal again, calling my bank to stop payment, speaking with my credit card, I finally received an email from iTunes. The email sounded like they were trying to cover their backs and made it seem like it was a non serious matter (this lit a huge fire under me). I was pissed and wrote a really nice email back to them stating that they should refund my money because clearly my account was compromised. Moreover, I have not used iTunes for a couple years and don’t even have the app on my computers to have access to my account. The last purchase I made was a couple years ago for a music download that cost me 99 cents. Common people!
I received a reply towards the end of the day saying, “A refund in the amount of $x,xxx.xx will be credited to the PayPal account used to pay for the order. Please note that this is a one-time exception to our sales policy.” Seriously, this was their fault and they made it seem like it was my fault. Anyhow, it’s definitely a lesson learned, and I am canceling my account, plus changing all my passwords on everything.
So if you have an iTunes account, make sure you keep your eyes wide open because it can happen to the best of us. I hope my experience can save people from having to experience the shock of feeling violated. Unfortunately, we live in a society where we constantly need to watch our back (that includes powerful hackers) because it literally takes a second for our lives to be turned upside down. Take all precautionary measures!