Apple is investigating dozens of cases of fraudulent iTunes account charges in Singapore, according to local news reports over the weekend.

Channel News Asia spoke to two people in the Southeast Asian country who said they had both lost several thousand dollars through fraudulent transactions processed through their iTunes accounts.

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Apple Orchard Road in Singapore (Image via Strait Times)

Two people told Channel NewsAsia that they lost at least S$7,000 each to iTunes purchases with one saying she was billed on her HSBC credit card. She added that she only realised something was amiss when she received a text message from HSBC that she had less than 30 per cent of her credit limit left. She realised the extent of the issue after speaking to a customer service operator.

The affected customers had reportedly been banking with Singapore banks including UOB, DBS, and Oversea-Chines Banking Corporation (OCBC). OCBC alone confirmed 58 similar cases of fraudulent charges.

One iTunes user who banked with DBS also told Channel News Asia that six fraudulent transactions had "completely wiped out" their account. As a result of the cases, UOB said that it was stepping up monitoring of all iTunes spending over recent weeks due to increase in cases of fraudulent activity.

Apple Singapore told the news organization that it is looking into the charges and had already cancelled many of the transactions identified as fraudulent. We'll update this article if we hear more.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
59 months ago
I wonder if it’s somehow related to moving iCloud data over to China? Sounds like most of the people had accountants with Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation.
Somebody in the comments section said that they were also affected with bank charges and they don't even own any Apple devices or have an Apple ID. So my first thought is that there's a more fundamental bank leak rather than iCloud information being stolen.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nunyabinez Avatar
59 months ago
I'm sorry if I'm being thick headed here, but how does making iTunes purchases with some else's account benefit a thief?

Isn't the purchased content still the property of the account owner? I mean it is digital after all. Does a thief have a way of getting the money out, or is it just an issue of maliciously spending someone else's money?

The only thing that I could think of is if the thief had an item on the iTunes store and bought it with someone else's account and took off with the money, but that would leave an obvious trail of who ended up with fraudulent purchases.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
59 months ago
I'm sorry if I'm being thick headed here, but how does making iTunes purchases with some else's account benefit a thief?

Isn't the purchased content still the property of the account owner? I mean it is digital after all. Does a thief have a way of getting the money out, or is it just an issue of maliciously spending someone else's money?

The only thing that I could think of is if the thief had an item on the iTunes store and bought it with someone else's account and took off with the money, but that would leave an obvious trail of who ended up with fraudulent purchases.
Obviously that trail must be organised well enough to disappear without any traces.

But it's really not clear from the reports what is actually happening. It could be that the banks or bank accounts are hacked so the money doesn't go to Apple but to some criminal. And then it doesn't matter what you buy. X dollars leaves your account. X dollars should go to Apple who then gives 70% to the maker of the software or music. Instead X dollars go to some criminal.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
supremedesigner Avatar
59 months ago
Question is - did they enabled TFA?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
szw-mapple fan Avatar
59 months ago
I wonder if it’s somehow related to moving iCloud data over to China? Sounds like most of the people had accountants with Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation.
Not sure how that is relevant seeing as OCBC is a Singaporean bank.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haruhiko Avatar
59 months ago
I wonder if it’s somehow related to moving iCloud data over to China? Sounds like most of the people had accountants with Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation.
OCBC is not a Chinese ("PRC") bank as far as I know.
Just because there is Chinese in the name of the bank doesn't make it belong to mainland China.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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