A young English mother is sounding the alarm about fake iPhones after she was scammed when buying a second-hand device on a reselling app.
Georgina Ambrose-Rourke, 23, recently spotted an iPhone XS on Facebook Marketplace, according to The Liverpool Echo. It seemed like a great deal — listed at about $800 U.S. dollars.
She contacted the seller and picked up the iPhone, which was ostensibly “brand new” and even supposedly came with a receipt and a one-year warranty.
But when she got home later that night, she quickly realized that the iPhone XS she bought was actually an Android fake masquerading as the real thing.
“It only had a bit of battery so I plugged it in and as I did, it said ‘Android system’ and my heart fell out,” Ambrose-Rourke told the Echo.
What Ambrose-Rourke had really bought was one of the many knockoff iPhones out there on the secondhand market. Oftentimes, these fakes are so well put-together than it isn’t obvious that they’re fraudulent until further inspection.
Of course, these devices don’t run iOS. So while they may look like iPhones, they’re just Android devices — and typically pretty shoddy ones at that.
Now, Ambrose-Rourke is sharing her story in hopes of cautioning people about fake iPhones. And while this particular scam took place in England, it’s certainly something that can occur anywhere in the world.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
The most important rule may be this: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. But there are also some useful tips to know if you’re buying used iPhones and want to make sure you don’t get stuck with a fake.
For one, inspect the packaging and chassis of the iPhone and look for any discrepancies. Apple’s products are well-built and its packaging design is incredibly clean. You want to make sure nothing looks fishy.
Before you buy it, boot up the iPhone. Sometimes, you’ll may something obvious like an Android boot up screen. Of course, some knockoffs are more advanced than that. Luckily, you can look for these telltale signs that it’s an Android in disguise.
- Look for any weird apps that come preinstalled. Apple doesn’t equip its iPhones with tons of bloatware, so you shouldn’t see anything other than the bare minimum when it comes to native apps.
- Open up the Messages app and look at the keyboard. If it looks different than the standard iOS keyboard, seen here, it’s probably a fake.
- The App Store, iTunes Store and FaceTime are typically dead giveaways, as fake iPhones will usually bring you to the Google Play store or a third-party streaming app.
Although it’s a UK-specific consumer rights watchdog, Which? also has some great tips about buying on Facebook Marketplace that can apply to other third-party reselling sites across the globe.