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iPhone 5 sale scams

When it comes to the new iPhone 5, prior its launch there were two notorious scams that made the headlines:  the “Test and Keep” text message and the “Buy my pre-order” Craigslist post.

Now there are a few new ones making their rounds. The most prevalent is the "Bait and switch" one:

Somebody advertises he wants to sell his brand new iPhone 5, for any reason (eg. got two of them for his birthday last week, or that his company gave away one to every employee but he already had one, etc...).

You meet the guy and he has two sealed iPhone boxes. He says one is for another client who should be there any minute. He sells the phones for $250 each. As he opens a box to show you that there is a real phone inside, the other client - usually a girl, his accomplice - shows up.

She says that her dad has the cash, but he is around the corner and for some reason he can't come (eg. might be parked illegally and has to move the car if a parking officer comes over). Meanwhile you, after examining the opened iPhone, feel happy, and pay him $250 in cash. As he puts the cash into an envelope and seals it, he sticks it into his pocket.

He then gives you the brand new sealed box and asks the girl if he has to go around the corner to meet the dad and get the cash. She says yes and she leaves first. As you are ready to go as well, he asks you for a favor. He gives you back the envelope with your cash just to hold it til he comes back, as he says he is afraid of being robbed if he goes around the corner with a bunch of cash. Well, you have the cash back and the phone, so you agree to wait a minute.

After you notice he's been gone for 5 minutes, you panic. You open the phone box and instead of an iPhone you find a stone. Then you open the envelope and it's all paper inside. The sealed box was a fake and when he put his hand back in the pocket picked a different envelope.

ship cruise scam

Same scam was reported to happen during Caribbean cruises. As the ships stop for a few hours in different touristic cities, travelers are approached by locals right as they step back on the ship. Very friendly, the crooks show them a brand new iPhone, let them play with it, and then sell it to them for half of the regular price. Or so the tourists think. Just like in the above-depicted scam, criminals have prepared sealed boxes that really look like real packages. Travelers are stepping back on the ship thinking they got a fantastic deal, while the crooks vanish the second after. By the time tourists are opening the box on the ship, there is already too late to go back.

There are also a few few other iPhone 5 sale scams, which come in different forms:

1. Email with shipping info

Crooks send mass emails impersonating workers at companies such as UPS and Fedex offering you the info about your “shipment and delivery”. A confusing but tempting statement along with a great photo of the phone might make you click on a link they provide, just so you see what they’re talking about. Opening the link will take you to a website preloaded with the Blackhole Exploit kit, which is currently the most popular web threat, according to Wikipedia. The page contains a hidden script which will give the scammers control over your computer. You can imagine the rest.

2. Buy the iPhone 5 now!

Scammers also create fake websites advertising themselves as official retailers of the iPhone 5. All you have to do is to pay and “you’ll get the Phone delivered to your door by Friday!” The page might also have an available file for you to download, called iphone5.gif.exe, which is a virus that will compromise your computer.

3. Free iPhone 5 campaigns

iphone scam5

You see them everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, any other social media outlets. There are some companies that organize legitimate contests, but unfortunately majority it’s just bogus. The most prevalent scam comes from Facebook, where a link appearing on your wall from one of your friends informs you about a “Get a free iPhone 5 contest”. The scammers make the link seem to come from a big brand name company, such as Wired magazine. Once you click on the link, you are invited to go fill out a captcha, which might make you feel more confident about the fact that it’s not spam. Once you’ve done that, you are taken to a page where you are required to post personal information, in order to get a shot at the free iPhone 5. Not only you won’t get any phone, but you will spam all you friends’ walls as well.

How to avoid: it cannot be any simpler - buy it ONLY from the authorized Apple dealers. At least for now. If you already are in a situation like the one described in the "Bait and switch", never leave anything you have out of your sight. If you just opened a box, take that product and never let it be switched with something else.

Watch an example of "Bait and switch" scam done with iPads HERE. Last but not least, make your friends and family aware of this scams by sharing it, using the buttons provided.


 

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