How to make sure you get an iPhone, instead of a swapped Android fake

Posted:
in iPhone

While most iPhone orders happen normally, there's a small chance that you could end up with a fake iPhone. Here's what you can do to check if your iPhone has been swapped with a fake before reaching your hands.

A fake iPhone [Reddit u/theEdmard]
A fake iPhone [Reddit u/theEdmard]



Tales of stolen packages and fake products shipped to unwitting customers are an everyday occurrence. In the case of one customer, they received an unusual package after ordering directly from Apple.

In a Reddit post by user u/theEdmard on Monday, it is explained that they had received an order for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which they had ordered from Apple's UK website directly. All phases of the order process went through as expected, complete with confirmation emails from Apple and tracking details from courier DPD.

However, when it arrived, the Redditor "immediately knew it wasn't right" after opening the box and seeing a screen protector applied to the display. After initially thinking they had received a returned device, they then spotted further issues when turning it on.

The screen lit up in a way that was "clearly not OLED," with the base having a "chin" that the iPhone does not have in its design. After going through a "very poor setup process," they determined that it was an "Android device in a skin," complete with "actual Android toasts popping up."

Frequent crashes, a slideshow-like camera, and preinstalled apps like TikTok sealed the deal that this wasn't a real iPhone at all. A look inside the iPhone box also revealed unusual tearing, as if someone opened the box and worked to reseal it.

The recipient of the bogus iPhone confirmed they already have a ticket open with Apple support.

While receiving a fake phone instead of their purchase is concerning, the Redditor's main worry is "that there are many people out there getting these phones and some may think it's legit and then log in to them using their Apple IDs, Facebook accounts, Google, etc."

They also questioned how the external appearance of the phone seemingly matches the specification of the ordered iPhone. "Why go to the effort of matching my order?" they asked, before wondering if whomever made the device wanted access to Wi-Fi networks or other accounts.

Questions were also raised about how the fake device actually made it to them in the first place. The DPD packaging seemed untampered with, and the entire process seemed as smooth as usual for an Apple purchase, making it hard to work out exactly when the switch took place.

Check your orders



The ordeal is a sobering reminder of the risks of online shopping, and to be vigilant about purchases. Even if they seem to come through a legitimate process from a genuine source.

AppleInsider recommends checking the packaging orders are set to you for signs of tampering before opening the package itself. For example, if it was sent in a plastic security bag, check there are no cuts that are resealed with tape, or evidence that the glued-down opening flap hasn't been unglued and reglued.

For the iPhone box, make sure there aren't any other tamper signs, such as the perforation tabs being removed from the base of the box, glue residue if they are replaced, and any other creases or tears.

Another thing to do is to only place the order through genuine sellers, such as Apple itself, a carrier, or a prominent retailer. While it doesn't guarantee it will arrive without interference from being in transit, it will at least mean a genuine Apple product will be dispatched from the retailer itself in the first place.

If all seems above board but the iPhone itself seems a bit wrong somehow, don't hesitate to contact either Apple or the retailer you bought it from.

Read on AppleInsider

FileMakerFeller

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,104member


    In a Reddit post by user u/theEdmard on Monday, it is explained that they had received an order for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which they had ordered from Apple's UK website directly. All phases of the order process went through as expected, complete with confirmation emails from Apple and tracking details from courier DPD.



    AppleInsider recommends checking the packaging orders are set to you for signs of tampering before opening the package itself. For example, if it was sent in a plastic security bag, check there are no cuts that are resealed with tape, or evidence that the glued-down opening flap hasn't been unglued and reglued.

    For the iPhone box, make sure there aren't any other tamper signs, such as the perforation tabs being removed from the base of the box, glue residue if they are replaced, and any other creases or tears.

    Another thing to do is to only place the order through genuine sellers, such as Apple itself, a carrier, or a prominent retailer. While it doesn't guarantee it will arrive without interference from being in transit, it will at least mean a genuine Apple product will be dispatched from the retailer itself in the first place.

    If all seems above board but the iPhone itself seems a bit wrong somehow, don't hesitate to contact either Apple or the retailer you bought it from.

    Read on AppleInsider

    In this case the Redditor did all those things, yet rec'd a not-genuine-Apple smartphone. Howsa?
    edited November 2023 fred1
  • Reply 2 of 16
    I am sure, Apple will investigate. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that they will now let the public know, how this happened. Too bad! It would be so fascinating to find out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,831administrator
    gatorguy said:


    In a Reddit post by user u/theEdmard on Monday, it is explained that they had received an order for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which they had ordered from Apple's UK website directly. All phases of the order process went through as expected, complete with confirmation emails from Apple and tracking details from courier DPD.



    AppleInsider recommends checking the packaging orders are set to you for signs of tampering before opening the package itself. For example, if it was sent in a plastic security bag, check there are no cuts that are resealed with tape, or evidence that the glued-down opening flap hasn't been unglued and reglued.

    For the iPhone box, make sure there aren't any other tamper signs, such as the perforation tabs being removed from the base of the box, glue residue if they are replaced, and any other creases or tears.

    Another thing to do is to only place the order through genuine sellers, such as Apple itself, a carrier, or a prominent retailer. While it doesn't guarantee it will arrive without interference from being in transit, it will at least mean a genuine Apple product will be dispatched from the retailer itself in the first place.

    If all seems above board but the iPhone itself seems a bit wrong somehow, don't hesitate to contact either Apple or the retailer you bought it from.

    Read on AppleInsider

    In this case the Redditor did all those things, yet rec'd a not-genuine-Apple smartphone. Howsa?
    Even before the iPhone shipped, there were images of faked Apple product security seals in the wild. We suspect it was this, and interception somewhere in the shipment stream. We're confident Apple shipped an iPhone. We're less confident about all the steps in between.
    gatorguywilliamlondonwatto_cobrathtFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 4 of 16
    I ordered Apple Ultra band in Amazon and got faked out. Returned same….Be careful and vigilant out there….
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16

    Even before the iPhone shipped, there were images of faked Apple product security seals in the wild. We suspect it was this, and interception somewhere in the shipment stream. We're confident Apple shipped an iPhone. We're less confident about all the steps in between.
    They sell them in the open on Aliexpress and other marketplaces. They also sell fake retail boxes for iPhones. Really need to look extremely closely to see if the seal is overlaid with a new one these days. Sad that there is a cottage industry springing up to provide products to help others defraud buyers.
    edited November 2023 watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,902member
    Never hurt to be extra vigilant. If you live in driving distance from Apple retail store than just drop by and buy it. I am buying Apple products straight from a Apple retail store for over a decade.
    hmlongcowatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Just another thing to worry about in a world with plenty to worry about.
    mobirdwatto_cobrathtjony0
  • Reply 8 of 16
    Is this happening at att stores in the us? I’m months away from considering an upgrade but I’ve gone through att in the past. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,282member
    The issue is that no matter what physical impediments Apple puts into preventing this type of thievery and counterfeiting, the criminals will find a way to counteract Apple’s measures. 

    I wonder if Apple could implement some sort of encryption system where the buyer is given a key at the time of purchase that is used to unlock the phone upon receiving it so only the buyer can unlock the device? This would at least render the stolen phone unusable, except for parting out. But I suppose the bad guys would come up with a countermeasure to any such authentication & authorization scheme. 

    It’s often amazing to see the effort that criminals put into  their nefarious schemes. Such a waste of human potential. 
    edited November 2023 williamlondonnetrox
  • Reply 10 of 16
    ronnronn Posts: 650member
    This popped up just as we were notified that our orders for a couple iPhone 15 Pro Max are scheduled to be delivered a few days early.

    Ordered directly from Apple which has never fouled up an order (besides rerouting a trade-in device to the wrong location, but it was quickly corrected after a couple phone convos with CS).

    *fingers crossed*
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    XedXed Posts: 2,483member
    ronn said:
    This popped up just as we were notified that our orders for a couple iPhone 15 Pro Max are scheduled to be delivered a few days early.

    Ordered directly from Apple which has never fouled up an order (besides rerouting a trade-in device to the wrong location, but it was quickly corrected after a couple phone convos with CS).

    *fingers crossed*
    Apple doesn't run their trade-in program, so that may not even be Apple's fault.

    https://www.theverge.com/22368541/apple-trade-in-phobio-macbook-white-spots
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,411member
    gatorguy said:

    In this case the Redditor did all those things, yet rec'd a not-genuine-Apple smartphone. Howsa?
    I think they swapped the package at arrival. 
    williamlondony2anwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Having worked for Apple's post order service team, I took more than a few phone calls where the shipping box had been tampered with.  The worst was a customer who ordered at 16" MacBook Pro and with the FedEx delivery guy present, opened the shipping box to find nothing but cut up FedEx boxes inside.  His computer was gone.   Of course, all of these shipments are insured by the delivery carrier and the customer had a replacement order created and got his desired computer- he just had to wait another two or three weeks for it.

    My guess, in this case, is the same.  The DPD shipping box was not tampered with... well, what people would have access to such boxes to repack something?   I'm more than confident Apple sent out a real 15 Pro Max, but sometime after that box left Apple, someone opened it, stuck in that fake phone, and sealed it up in a new packing box.   

    One final note- these instances are incredibly rare.  Consider that I would take dozens of calls a day and most were about credit card issues, order changes, order delays, etc.  Stolen merchandise during shipping happened literally just a couple times in my year doing that work.  (Porch pirates stealing delivered goods was another story.)  Now, think of all the people who place and order and have no issue and never need to call order support.   In short, when you order something from Apple directly, the chances that you will not get the item you wanted is astronomically slim. 
    edited November 2023 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 14 of 16
    I'm lucky enough to live in an area with an Apple Store, so that's where I get mine.  I recognize that not everyone has that convenience.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 16
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    I always try to buy my Apple products either in an Apple store, or have it delivered to an Apple Store so when picked-up, I can open the package in the presence of an Apple rep to make sure this exact situation does not occur to me.

    I picked-up my new iPhone15 a couple weeks ago and it was the first time I was not able to have an iPhone picked up at a store.  It was the most stressful few days when it was shipped.  I was able to re-route it to a UPS pickup location but even then I was worried that someone at UPS would tamper with the package.  I don't trust anyone outside of Apple to handle my products.  
    jony0
  • Reply 16 of 16
    I just ordered two different colours of  iPhone 15 pro official Apple Cases from ‘Amazon’s Apple Store’

    One has arrived in a clear plastic bag as the packaging. The other has the proper white cardboard packaging.

    I’m assuming the one in the plastic bag is counterfeit, but my point is that it’s sold and dispatched by Amazon UK
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