Apple have been tricked out of almost $1 million worth of iPhones by two Chinese engineering students in Oregon. The scam involved shipping counterfeit iPhones from China to the US.
As reported by The Oregonian, Yangyang Zhou was responsible for the importing of the counterfeit devices. Once received, the other student – Quan Jiang – would bring the fake phones to an Apple store to request a replacement or complete the process online.
Apple couldn’t verify the authenticity of the devices as they wouldn’t turn on. Proof of purchase was not required either, making the scam an attractive endeavor for the pair.
According to Federal agents, a total of 3,069 iPhone warranty claims were submitted to Apple, with 1,493 replacements being issued. These were sent back to China to be sold for a huge profit, with one of the scammers mothers taking care of the proceeds and placing them in a bank account accessible from the US.
The scam highlights just how impressive counterfeits can be. Had the phones started and booted up, it’s likely the Apple store employees would notice the difference – when we examined a fake iPhone, we found a heavily modified version of Android masquerading as iOS.
As the software was not in play, the build quality and feel of the devices must have been very close to the genuine product to pass the visual inspection.
At the DeviceAssure launch in February, we unboxed examples of impressive counterfeits. You can watch that video here.