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Think you found a great deal on AirPods? Many sales are legitimate, but if you’re using a local marketplace app or platform, you may want to take a closer look at them.
A helpful Redditor has put a spotlight on a particular seller of fake AirPods in Oakland, California. That PSA won’t affect you unless you live in that area, but it does bring to light a good point.
Fake AirPods are out there — and you probably don’t want to buy a pair. Here’s how to avoid it.
Fake Apple Products
Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp are no stranger to fake Apple products. We’ve seen various reports over the years of fake Apple products getting peddled on these platforms.
Typically, there will be some sign of inauthenticity on the box itself. If a buyer doesn’t notice it, then all is usually revealed when a device is switched on — fake iPhones or iPads can’t run iOS, so they’ll run Android instead.
But when buying Apple accessories that don’t run operating systems, it can be a lot harder to tell if a seemingly great buy is indeed authentic.
That’s especially true as fake products are getting a lot more sophisticated and authentic-looking.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Rule number one: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. But if you’re on the fence about a product on the secondary market, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Take a look at the packaging. If you’re able to handle a product in-person or see pictures of it, examine the text on the packaging. Fake products will typically have grammar errors or typos.
Alsocheck to see if it uses a Lightning cable to charge. If not, it’s definitely fake.
- Verify the serial number. Before you buy anything, ask for the device’s serial number (or look for it yourself on pictures or in-person). Then, type the serial number into this Apple webpage. If it’s able to pull it up, it’s authentic. If not, it’s probably a fake.
- Try connecting the AirPods. If you’re meeting a seller in-person, try having them demonstrate how the AirPods connect. A setup animation should play automatically when AirPods are close to your phone. You should not have to delve into the Bluetooth Settings menu to connect them — if you do, they’re definitely fake. Although some fake AirPods been able to reproduce Apple’s W1/W2 pairing process.
You can also look into marketplace rules. Some platforms, like Mercari and eBay, offer consumers protection against fake products. We also recommend reporting suspected scammers to the app or site that you’re using.