iTunes gift cards worth US$200 are now sold on a Chinese Website for merely $3. But that's not a crazy sales promotion from Apple -- it's actually a group of Chinese hackers who broke Apple's gift certificate algorithm and are now using a key generator to sell bargain gift cards on the Internet.
The somehow legitimate gift cards are sold on Taobao, the biggest Ebay-like site in China. A $200 gift card can be bought for as little as $2.60 and the buyer gets a gift voucher code from the seller via Taobao's integrated instant messaging platform. The code can then be used to redeem the card from a user's iTunes account, according to Chinese blog Outdustry.
On Ebay U.S., $200 Apple iTunes Gift cards codes can be bought for as little $43, including a "free tutorial creating U.S. $ account." But Outdustry says the codes from China are so cheap because more people went into this business in the last six months and prices had go down. The Chinese code seller also said that he buys the gift card codes from hackers and then makes a profit once more codes are sold.
Because Apple has not yet commented on the matter, it is not known whether the codes generated by the Chinese hackers could give headaches to gift cards customers in the U.S. There is the possibility that the hacked codes could be present on legitimate $200 gift cards on the shelves right now and buyers could pay for an invalid card.
At the same time, if Apple decides to change the gift voucher code generation algorithm, all the cards and codes on the market right now would be rendered obsolete, putting the company in a tricky position. In the current situation, the only ones making money out of the hacked iTunes gift cards are the code sellers themselves and the artists who are still getting paid when their songs are bought on iTunes.
Note: At the time of writing this article, the Gift Cards/Vouchers section of the U.S. Apple Store is under maintenance.
This story, "Hacked: $200 ITunes Gift Card for Only $2.60" was originally published by PCWorld.