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Fraudulant iTunes accounts for sale online in China

Apple’s iTunes service is being targeted by scammers again—and this time, instead of a teenager using stolen credit cards to buy copies of his own song to send it up the sales charts, it’s cybercriminals in China offering iTunes accounts linked to stolen credit cards for auction on the online auction site Taobao. And although prices start as low as 1 yuan (about US$0.15), the typical sale price is about 200 yuan, or US$30. And that buys customers as much as $200 with of digital downloads from Apple.

Information about the auctions first appeared in China’s Global Times. Although it’s not clear whether the all the accounts have been set up using stolen credit card info or hacked into by way of obvious or insecure passwords, the auction listings are pretty clear that anyone buying the accounts need to get in and get out fast: listings for many of the higher-priced accounts warn users they need to make any purchased within a period of a few hours, since the account will likely be shut down.

Apple’s iTunes service has been targeted by a growing number of scams in recent years, and Apple has warned users repeatedly to safeguard their account information and personal details, as well as select strong passwords for their accounts.

Taobao is one of China’s largest Internet companies, with more than 200 million registered users. Industry estimates for its online auction business had the company hosting in the neighborhood of $60 billion in transactions in 2010.

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