Richmond Hill man will make ‘very selective’ online purchases after being swindled in claimed iPhone scam

Richmond Hill man will make ‘very selective’ online purchases after being swindled in claimed iPhone scam

In late August, David, who is only being identified by his first name out fear for his safety, was looking online for a used iPhone since his existing phone had been malfunctioning.

A Richmond Hill resident is warning others about a fake iPhone scam after making a purchase he thought was legitimate on Facebook Marketplace.

To save on the cost of a new iPhone, he took to Facebook Marketplace.

David and his wife, who had been looking online together, found an ad listing a new iPhone 12 Pro Max for $1,200. In store, these phones can sell between $1,000 to $1,500.

David negotiated the price to $1,000, and went to an area close to Vaughan Mills mall in Concord to exchange cash for it.

“He had the phone, a receipt, and it looked really legit,” David said, adding that the packaging of the box was identical to a real one. However, he wishes he had inspected the product much more closely. When he went home and tried to connect the phone to his computer, he realized it was a fake.

Before making the purchase, David said the due diligence he had made was asking for the serial number of the phone, which he checked off as valid.

“Everything checked out,” David said.

However, scammers are getting more nifty at making fake electronic equipment such as iPhones look like the real thing. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), these types of scams are on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for the sales of personal protective equipment and pets.

To prevent falling victim to a scam, the CAFC reminds residents to know the value of the item you wish to purchase and to question if it seems too good to be true. David said he was told by the man that he was selling the iPhone because his girlfriend didn’t like the colour and the return date had already passed.

“It sounded completely reasonable,” David said. After this experience and losing $1,000, David said he’ll be “very selective” from now on with online purchases.

“First time, probably last time buying anything like a phone (online),” he said. David reported the incident to the York Regional Police. No charges have been laid as a result of a police investigation.

“A good rule of thumb: If asking price of a product is too good to be true, it is,” according to the CAFC. Police always urge residents to do their due diligence and to go with their instincts when making online purchases.

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