Image of a user who just plugged in his iPhone or an iPod to a portable computer.

I have had my share of scams in the “good old days.” Whatever that means… Just when I think that I have experienced everything worth learning in life, things take a turn and there is something new to explore. For instance, one time when I was scammed at the iTunes store, I made up my mind to share the experience with my readers.

Several reports and past incidents have confirmed that scammers exist at app stores. In fact, they exist in real life too. Last year, a guy at my gym wanted to sell me a slightly used iPhone alongside a few “unused” iTunes discount coupons. Yep, I fell for it because I thought that I have grown used to seeing a familiar face – therefore the trust factor kicked in.

Later on, someone told me that this guy has been doing it for a very long time. As far as the iPhone itself was concerned, the back panel was slightly damaged too. I didn’t notice it first though. As for the guy, he never showed up in the gym again.

Now, as far as iTunes marketplace scams are concerned, most of the time, users can avoid being an easy target. Let’s say you end up receiving an email from unknown senders, don’t fall for the following offers:

–          Jumbo offer – come and get the latest blah blah blah for only $2.

–        We have some that no one else has to offer you. It’s a 10 in 1 iTunes app package. Why wait and pass up on it? Log on to the (suspicious looking) link below and give up your account info please.

Make note of the subject, the “from” field and also if the email has been marked “CC” or “BCC”. It will indicate that you are not the only one who was in the recipient list. Other things that you need to be aware of are redirection requests to pages that as you to fill in your personal information. Instead of clicking the links right away, hover your mouse over them and you will be able to see the actual webpage link.

If this link appears shady or is part of a funny subdomain, it is a warning flag to you in advance. Likewise, the Automatic payment system may be a big convenience for you. But it’s a bigger convenience for hackers. Once they have the victim’s account info, they need to enter the user name and password to make those payments. No one has to worry about entering PayPal or credit card info, since you had the Automatic payment option enabled from your device.

I brought up automatic payments issue because of how cookies information gets hacked. The hacker uses these cookies to assume the identity of the victim, hence tricking the servers into believing that the transaction requests are coming from an authenticated user. Either you can use the Incognito mode, or you make it a habit of cleaning your history every now and then.

An alternative to the aforementioned tips is to look out for “HTTPS” and SSL certificate seals at any website that you are about to purchase the iTunes coupons or discount codes from. In case you have been stung before and want to cancel the iTunes account, please contact an Apple official as soon as possible; they will respond to you soon.