Police warn of scam after Orem woman buys fake iPhone

Published: Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:42 p.m. MDT

Earlier this month, a woman bought what she thought was an iPhone 5 at a grocery parking lot. It turns out she paid $120 for a piece of junk, Orem police said.

Sam Penrod, Deseret News

OREM — Police have issued a warning about a new scam involving one of the hottest gadgets right now: the iPhone 5.

Earlier this month, an Orem woman thought she was getting a fabulous deal on a brand-new iPhone 5, but what she really got was a piece of junk.

Police said someone approached her at in the parking lot at Macey's grocery store, 880 N. State, and offered her a new iPhone for a good price.

"He presented it as a brand-new iPhone that he just didn't need," Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said. "He was asking for $350, and she talked him down pretty quickly to $120. So she gave him $120 and he left."

The fake phone Martinez examined came in Apple-style packaging with charging accessories and earphones.

Martinez compared a real iPhone with the fake.

"It's not a phone at all," he said. "(It) looks exactly like an iPhone, feels like an iPhone, but it's not even a real phone. It won't even work. It won't turn on. It's a total piece of junk."

When the woman took the phone to get it activated, it became obvious she had just paid a lot of money for nothing, Martinez said.

Her son was suspicious enough that he got the license plate number for the seller's car during the transaction, but when they went to trace the license plate, it came back to a rental car company. Police are still investigating that lead.

"This scam has hit Orem and Utah County," Martinez said.

The Internet is filled with warnings about counterfeit electronics. In this case, police say it was clear the package was only meant to quickly deceive people into giving their cash away.

"When you are buying phones, stereo systems, speakers, don't do it in the parking lot outside of someone's trunk," Martinez said. "It never turns out good, and you never get what you are paying for."

The Orem Police Department is asking anyone who has fallen victim to this scam to let authorities know so they can investigate the situation.

Email: vvo-duc@deseretnews.com

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