Beware of fake iPhones sold online

Ms. Lavoie uses her new phone, which turns out to be a counterfeit iPhone.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Instead of going to the store, Mrs. Lavoie browses Marketplace, Facebook’s advertising site. There she finds an Apple 13 Pro Max, the best model at the time.

The seller, a certain Jordy, is asking $1,100. In stores, the same phone costs $1,549, plus tax. Ms. Lavoie can save $700.

I ask him why he is selling it. He replies that his cousin gave it to him and that he doesn’t need it. The story seems more believable. »

A quote from Claire Lavoie

Ms. Lavoie jumps at the offer and makes an appointment with the seller. He gets into my car, shows me an Apple bag, then asks if I have the money. The iPhone case is closed. Everything seems fineshe tells us, recalling the scene.

The back of a fake iPhone case.

Photo taken by Ms. Lavoie at the time of purchase of the fake iPhone

Photo: Radio-Canada

Finally, they agree to complete the transaction with $1,000. Satisfied, Mrs. Lavoie goes to the Videotron to activate her phone.

After three or four minutes, the young man tells me that it is identical to an iPhone, but it is not Apple. It’s a scam phone.

Mrs. Lavoie fell into the trap. His new iPhone looks like the real thing, but it’s not an iPhone, and it’s definitely not worth $1,000.

Almost perfect makeup

To find out what Ms. Lavoie actually bought, we caught up with Tarek Safah, owner of the FixiPro store in Laval. He specializes in the repair of electronic goods of all kinds.

Portrait of Tarek Safah opening a telephone box.

FixiPro store owner Tarek Safah opens the case of a fake iPhone.

Photo: Radio-Canada

It immediately spots differences that can easily slip under the radar of less experienced people. For example:

  • the front camera is much less sensitive to counterfeiting;
  • the border around the screen is too thick;
  • the flash has the wrong color;
  • the back panel is not perfectly adjusted.
A fake iPhone and a real one side by side.

The fake iPhone’s camera is clearly visible on the left. On the right, the truth is much more sober.

Photo: Radio-Canada

It’s hard to see these differences without comparing the phones side-by-side. With use, however, the signs are more obvious.

In terms of fluidity and how responsive the screen is, it certainly isn’tnotes Tarek Safah.

The message icons and keyboard are the ones used by Android phones. The Apple App Store is not working. There are also frequent translation problems.

Then the options just don’t exist, like the mode True Tone“,”text”:”True Tone”}}”>True tonewhich automatically calibrates the screen colors.

Fake iPhone detected

We asked Tarek Safah to open the fake phone box. He explains this to usan iPhone, opens from the front. Remove the screen and access the components. In this case, we had to remove the back.

A fake iPhone with its components exposed.

Two of the three rear cameras on the fake iPhone are fake.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Surprisingly, there is no Apple part to be found. In addition, the motherboard and accessories, such as the vibration motor or speakers, have nothing to do with Apple’s.

By removing the cameras, the deception reaches a new height. Of the three rear cameras, only one is functional. The other two are false. In the question is it done well? Tarek Sarah answers without hesitation no really not.

They put a lot of effort into the look and software. But inside, you can see very quickly that it’s not a real iPhone. »

A quote from Tarek Safah, Owner, FixiPro

At the time of the transaction, Ms. Lavoie saw nothing suspicious. Everything is thought out so that the first glance is convincing, right down to the Apple apple that appears when you turn on the device.

A paid scam

Small consolation, Ms. Lavoie is not the only one who has had. In Montreal alone, the Ville de Montréal Police Service (SPVM) receives 175 complaints a year about fake iPhones.

The phenomenon worries Commander Steve Belzil of the Treasury’s Economic Crimes Section SPVM. He explains that the first reported cases of fake iPhones date back to 2017.

The products are imported from China. When they arrive in Canada, they are in Apple packaging. They can also be hidden in computer monitor cases. »

A quote from Steve Belzil, Commander, SPVM

Importers buy the phones for $100, $50 or even less, depending on the quantity ordered. They are then resold for upwards of $1,000 on sites like Kijiji or mARkETS. The gains are substantial and easily reproducible.

Portrait of Commander Steve Belzil.

Commander Steve Belzil heads SPVM’s Economic Crimes Section.

Photo: Radio-Canada

ans jusqu’à la jeune vingtaine. Ils optent pour la facilité. Il y a toujours des gens qui vont prendre leur place pour vendre ces produits-là”,”text”:”Dans nos enquêtes, nous avons remarqué que les fraudeurs sont en majorité des jeunes. Ça peut partir de 14ans jusqu’à la jeune vingtaine. Ils optent pour la facilité. Il y a toujours des gens qui vont prendre leur place pour vendre ces produits-là”}}”>In our surveys, we have noticed that most fraudsters are young. It can start from the age of 14 to the early twenties. They choose the easy way. There are always people who will take their place to sell these productsCommander Belzil notes.

Persuasive cheaters

We want to know how fake iPhone sellers do to convince buyers. Browsing through Marketplace, we quickly find the same iPhone model as Ms. Lavoie’s. A brand new iPhone 13 Pro Max listed at $1,350. We suspect it’s fake.

Advertising fake iPhone on Marketplace.

The fake iPhone announcement shows that the box has never been opened, an argument to convince prospective buyers of its authenticity.

Photo: Facebook Marketplace

Commander Steve Belzil recommends a few checks before you buy.

[Le vendeur] will use a fake profile to hide their true identity. Check how long the Facebook account has been around. Often these are relatively new accounts, not much activity, not many friends.

In our case, the seller created her account in 2022. This does not bode well.

While chatting with him on Facebook Messenger, she explains that her father gave her an iPhone as a gift and that she doesn’t need it. This argument is regularly used by fraudsters, according to Commander Belzil.

We also know the phone case is fake. Color black Where black does not exist for iPhone 13 Pro Max. We should read better GRAPHITE.

The back of a fake iPhone case.

The color shown on the box, “black”, does not exist for the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It should read “graphite” instead.

Photo: Facebook Marketplace

We make an appointment with the seller and capture the scene using a hidden camera. Instead, she sends us a receipt to authenticate the purchase at the Apple store. The invoice contains several errors and is clearly fake.

journalism : Ce n’est pas une facture Apple. C’est une fausse facture. Est-ce que vous savez que vous avez un faux téléphone entre vos mains?“,”text”:”Ce n’est pas une facture Apple. C’est une fausse facture. Est-ce que vous savez que vous avez un faux téléphone entre vos mains?”}}”>It is not an Apple receipt. It’s a fake bill. Do you know you have a fake phone in your hands?

Saleswoman : Je ne pense pas que c’est un faux, Monsieur. C’est mon père qui me l’a acheté. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi mon père m’achèterait un faux.“,”text”:”Je ne pense pas que c’est un faux, Monsieur. C’est mon père qui me l’a acheté. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi mon père m’achèterait un faux.”}}”>I don’t think it’s fake, sir. My father bought it for me. I don’t understand why my dad would buy me a fake one.

A fake receipt from an Apple store.

The invoice provided by the seller contains several errors, including the way taxes are entered, not to mention typos.

Photo: Fake iPhone seller

Beware of the dangers of theft

Commander Steve Belzil warns us. The transaction must be done in a public place, without cash, being accompanied.

There have been cases where a buyer realizes it’s a fake iPhone and backs out, and then scammers chase after them to get their money. When a shopper is confronted by a scammer, they may turn to robbery.

Afterwards, Ms. Lavoie is still relieved that the events happened without violence. I’m always a little cautious, but here I was reckless. Does he pull out a knife, a gun? He was sitting in my car. It could have gone wrong.

Some advice

  • Do not rely on the device’s serial number or IMEI (identification number), even if they are valid. Fraudsters can use them from other devices of the same model;
  • Ask the seller for photos and proof of purchase and review them for errors or discrepancies;
  • Offer to meet the salesperson at your phone provider. Fraudsters can give up;
  • Do not bring cash.
An unidentified person browses an online shopping site.

In addition to fake iPhones, there are also other counterfeit Apple products on the market, such as AirPods or Apple Watch.

Photo: Radio-Canada

FixiPro’s Tarek Safah, Commander Steve Belzil and other police departments contacted are unanimous: if the offer is too good to be true, beware.

Ms. Lavoie will have learned this the hard way. $ perdus. J’aurais mieux aimé les donner à un organisme de charité qu’à un type comme ça.”,”text”:”C’est 1000$ perdus. J’aurais mieux aimé les donner à un organisme de charité qu’à un type comme ça.”}}”>That’s $1,000 lost. I would have rather given it to a charity than to a guy like that.

Jean-Luc Bouchard’s report is broadcast on the program of bill Tuesday at 19:30 and Saturday at 12:30 on ICI Télé.

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