iPhones are super premium devices, and there is no dearth of frauds or tricks that people do to get this coveted handset. One Malaysian man, however, went a step further to use his purchased iPhone to trick insurance companies almost every year by claiming it to be stolen.
Why he keeps “losing” iPhone?
This man has been tricking police and insurance companies using the same ploy for the last few years, but now he has been arrested. Police nabbed him after he faked the robbery of his latest iPhone – the iPhone XS Max (costing RM5,399).
This 34-year-old marketing manager, whose name has not been revealed, from Bukit Mertajam, Malaysia filed a report with the police that he was robbed near his mother-in-law’s house by two men on a motorcycle on Saturday. As per the man, the robbers took his iPhone XS Max, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro and other items.
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In all, he claimed that he suffered damages of RM11,000 (about $2618), the local reports said. The police, however, sensed something wrong with his story. They investigated the case to find the real truth that he was filing similar reports almost every year.
According to the police, after they searched his background, it revealed his earlier police reports, including a lost iPhone. Police also visited his mother-in-law’s house, where they found the MacBook Pro which was claimed to be stolen.
Further, the police found that he was doing this iPhone scam to claim the insurance money and that he filed his first report in 2013. After police interrogated the man, he admitted to the fraud, revealing that he first sells his iPhone online, and then reports it as stolen to claim the insurance money.
From the insurance money, he buys a new iPhone. The man told the police that he sold his iPhone online for RM5,000, while the MacBook went for RM6,000.
Other iPhone scams
Faking iPhone theft is a growing issue in other parts of the world as well, including the U.S. Scammers are making use of major cell phone providers to pull off this iPhone scam. First they buy a new iPhone from a carrier, and then sell the working iPhone. After the iPhone is sold, they report it as stolen to make quick money. A similar case was reported earlier this year for an iPhone on the AT&T network.
Another iPhone scam was discovered in July by ArsTechnica. In this scam, fraudsters create a fake Apple website and pop-up a system dialog box to prompt users to call “AppleCare.” Scammers first email a user about a “critical alert” for the blocked sign-in attempt. In the email, hackers also give a link that users can click to check the account activity. After the link is clicked, the user is taken to a fake Apple support site. Users then get a pop-up, asking them to call AppleCare. Once the call in connected, the fake support team tries to get critical information from the user.
Apple is aware of such scams, and thus, has updated its support page with points that explain how users can avoid such scams. “These alerts are pop-ups, designed to trick you into calling a phony support number or buying an app that claims to fix the issue,” Apple says on its support page.
Apple advises users not to call any such number, or just close the window or tab or navigate away from that page to protect from being tricked.
Massive iPhone scam in China
Scammers are not just tricking iPhone users but Apple as well. A massive iPhone scam unearthed a couple of months back in China reportedly cost billions of dollars to Apple. According to The Information, this scam is related to the warranty repairs.
The thieves will first buy or steal the new iPhones, and then take out the valuable parts, like a processor, screen or logic board, and replace it with a fake part. The scammers will then return it to Apple, claiming it to be broken and get a replacement, which they resell. The extracted components were also sold to third-party repair shops in smaller Chinese cities.
According to The Information, the Apple Store in Shenzhen registered over 2,000 warranty claims per week in May 2013, the highest among all Apple Stores globally.