New Money Transfer Scam Asks For Payment Through iTune Gift Cards

itunes

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned of a new scam where criminals dupe people into paying fraudulent claims through iTunes gift cards.

The FTC said that scammers are pretending to be agents from the IRS or U.S. Treasury and demanding that you pay back taxes via an iTunes gift card.

Yes, an iTunes card.

Crooks pretending to be from the IRS are nothing new, but requesting fraudulent payments through iTunes — that is new.

How the iTunes IRS Scam Works

The iTunes IRS scam can take various forms. At one point, the FTC pointed out that crooks might mail or fax falsified forms to seem more legitimate and gain a business owner’s trust.

Other times, the fraudsters produce your Social Security Number, or at least the last four digits, so as to come across as the real deal when demanding money.

And many of these fraudsters are very aggressive and nasty when demanding money on the spot, often threatening jail time.

Police in Port St. Lucie, Florida, recorded an incident where the iTunes IRS scammers duped one man into buying an iTunes card worth $2,300 at a local Target store, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post.

The victim was asked to meet a man claiming to be an agent with the IRS and who knew the victim’s personal information at a local store. The victim was then given a phone number to call to settle the debt. The person on the other end of the line also claimed to be with the IRS, and told the victim to purchase an iTunes card or another gift card and to call back with the authorization number.

If he didn’t call back with the authorization number, the impersonator said the victim would be arrested for not paying his debt.

The FTC has observed that the scammers usually ask people to pay a certain way because they want to make it easy to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back. As soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.

The fraudsters use that information to sell the gift cards online and receive cash.

More Vigilance Needed When Using Gift Cards

Gift cards, including Amazon gift cards and other reloadable cards like Reloadit, MoneyPak and Vanilla, are becoming notorious because con artists are taking advantage of the popularity and convenience of the cards to carry out criminal activities.

According to the iTunes Support page: “iTunes will never ask you to provide personal information or sensitive account information (such as credit card numbers or passwords) via email. That means you should be wary of any requests asking you to place funds on an iTunes gift card or other prepaid card to pay your taxes and fees. That is a definite red flag.

But gift cards aren’t the only way people are being conned lately. Other payment methods that scammers are using to defraud unsuspecting people in these “money transfer” scams include money wiring services like Western Union and MoneyGram.

The FTC says government offices won’t ask you to use these payment methods. It adds that if you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card anyway. Moreover, if you are targeted by an iTunes IRS  scam or any scam involving gift cards,  the FTC urges you to report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

Image: Apple

[“source-ndtv”]

Google Working on Prisma-Like ‘Style Transfer’ Technology That Lets You Blend Styles in Real-Time

Google Working on Prisma-Like 'Style Transfer' Technology That Lets You Blend Styles in Real-Time

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google claims its technology is not memory intensive
  • Style transfer network uses artificial intelligence for applying filters
  • Users can adjust strength of each painting style in final filter

Image filter app Prisma drew attention from around the world when it launched in July this year. The app’s popularity gave way to a sea of clone apps that tried to emulate the original app’s success. Recently, even big names like Facebook have joined the list of companies that are trying to implement style transfer tech, similar to that of Prisma to its own products. Now, Google has unveiled its own style transfer technology, which might take the competition to the next level.

Google’s style transfer technology doesn’t just apply filters to videos but allows users to create their own by blending various filters. The most exciting part about this technology is that shows the results to users in real-time – similar to Facebook’s technology. Google describes its technology as, “a simple method to allow a single deep convolutional style transfer network to learn multiple styles at the same time.”

Users are provided with 13 different painting styles and their respective strengths in the final style are adjustable with the help of sliders. Even though the blend of styles is a demanding task, the company says its technique is “simple to implement and is not memory intensive.” The style transfer network makes use of artificial intelligence to apply filters to the app.”Unlike previous approaches to fast style transfer, we feel that this method of modeling multiple styles at the same time opens the door to exciting new ways for users to interact with style transfer algorithms, not only allowing the freedom to create new styles based on the mixture of several others, but to do it in real-time,” Google said in its official blog post.

The app allows users with even more options for creativity and enables them to create their own piece of art using famous painting styles. However, Google has currently not provided any information regarding the release plans for this new technology

Tags: Google Style Transfer Technology, Prisma, Apps, Google, Image Filter Technology
[“Source-Gadgets”]