I Purchased a Fake iPhone. Is There Anything I Can Do?

Hello fellow OzBargainers,

To prevent unhelpful and useless comments, let me start by saying that I know that I'm stupid, I'm an idiot, and that I shouldn't have trusted a stranger, and finally that I deserve this. Now that this is out of the way (hopefully trolls won't find another reason to comment), let me explain what has happened.

So I was looking for an iPhone on Facebook marketplace for a few days and I finally found one with a decent price (still not very cheap though). The seller had a real Facebook profile with all his family members and friends (who are also real) commenting on his post even back to 2014. I messaged the guy, organised a time to meet, and went to meet him. I paid him, got the phone, he said he's in a rush and took off like he was in a drag race.

That was my first clue that something's not right. Since I was in a rush myself, I left for home and when I arrived and opened the phone, I realised that I've been scammed into buying a very cheap Android phone that is not even working. I tried to message the guy but he had deleted his Facebook account, I gave him a call and he didn't pick up. I sent him a text telling him that if he doesn't return my money, I'll go to the police. He didn't respond.

I went to Instagram, found his profile (still a real profile with all his family members being tagged here and there). I messaged him, he saw my message, didn't respond. But he didn't delete his Instagram profile.

I went to the police and gave them all the details. I even printed several photos of him. But the police didn't even bother to call him. They said I have to file a report and that they will investigate. And we all know what that means. Nevertheless, I made a full report.

Now, since VicPolice is absolutely hopeless, is there any other way that I can get my money back?

Please please don't troll. If you don't have anything helpful to say, don't comment. I'm already feeling like shit, I don't need you to make it worse.

closed Comments

      • How much did he fleece you out of?

        • $1850 for an iPhone Pro Max 512GB. The fake phone that I've ended up with is hardly worth $50.

          • +1

            @Bangriboss: 😩 I would definitely continue to threaten him. What a bastard.

            • @iNeed2Pee: Doesn't work. I've tried different ways of talking to him. He doesn't respond.

              • +1

                @Bangriboss: Have you contacted his family? Shame him amongst them? If they're not scum they might convince him to return the money.

                • @nailsforlunch: I've thought about that. Just wondering if that's legal.

                  • +3

                    @Bangriboss: I wouldn't be worried if that is legal or not. Especially after the fact that its there family member who has stolen $1850

          • @Bangriboss: Wow, my 12 pro max 256gb i got off gumtree, i went to their house though.

  • +1

    VicPolice is absolutely hopeless

    Is this a criminal or a civil matter?

    • I'd say definitely criminal. But feel free to correct me.

      • Do you know the difference or is that a guess?

        • One officer said "I think its a criminal matter" or something like that. He wasn't sure. What do you think? I mean this is a straight scam.

          • @Bangriboss: I don't know why you kept being negged.

            Perpetrator might be watching this?

        • +1

          Do you know the difference or is that a guess?

          Theft & Fraud are criminal matters.

    • Not familiar with the Vic Crimes Act, but seems to be pretty clearly fraud or obtain by deception, so a criminal matter.

  • +4

    If you have all of his details, try a small claims court, no lawyer needed. If he doesn't show, you may be out of luck.

    • How can I do that? Does it cost me money?

        • Thanks. I thought you might know a different route than Google.

      • QCAT, VCAT or any one of numerous tribunals dealing in minor debt disputes will help and they all have good websites telling you what to do. Help yourself.

        • Thank you so much.

          • @Bangriboss: 3 states only have magistrates court dealing with these issues now though…and they are treated as low priority…

        • +1

          Even if you go to VCAT and the case is awarded in your favour, VCAT has no power to enforce settlement, you would then need to file with the Magistrate Court. All very costly.

          • @Ocker: It is absolutely simple to register a tribunal decision as a judgment. I don’t understand why you think that is costly or hard?

            • @kipps: I was just wondering. I will get to it then.

    • Why would the defendant show up?

      • Because otherwise judgment is entered against them in default.

        • Then the sheriffs are sent to collect the debt. They usually have better luck than a random Joe.

  • +1

    Is it legal for me to add follow his instagram friends (assuming they will followme back) and then creating a post telling everyone that he is a scammer? Would that make hime respond?

    I know this is a crazy idea, but my hands are tight, be nice.

    • +1

      The world is weird, so he can probably sue you for defamation or something like that… :/

    • I am not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt but this is DEFINITELY possibly completely legal, in my opinion, and you should definitely hassle all this man's fam and friends for answers.

  • +1

    It's too late for the OP but for others considering buying a phone on FB MP or Gumtree, to me it is very risky and would require a whole raft of mitigants inclduing :

    1) Opening the box at the exchange / transaction and checking the item is per the box and is in the condition per the advert.
    2) Turning on the item to check it boots and works (even then not a complete test).
    3) Checking the item is not lost or stolen or fake (IMEI check or insert your SIM card in to test)

    If the Seller is not willing to do that, pre handing the money over, do not proceed.

    • I did check the serial number on Apple's website before contacting him. The website said it was legit. I then contacted Apple by phone and they said the serial number is legit and has warranty till January 2022.

      • Was the serial number communicated to you also on the phone and box?

    • I have bought 50 plus iPhones/ipads off GT never had one problem.

    • +3

      Honestly this all just seems like common sense to me - i can't believe anyone would hand over good money for a second hand phone without at least testing it.

  • so just curious…

    the first time you looked at the phone was when you got home? and not in front of the guy that sold it to you

    • Yes, unfortunately. Since I checked the serial number with Apple the day before, I wasn't very suspicious.

      • +1

        Ohhh man.. i feel for you, hopefully works out for you. just spam his friend and family on Instagram and Facebook.

        • I've started adding his friends and family on instagram and Facebook. The spamming shall begin soon.

  • +1

    I paid him, got the phone

    I guess you didn't open it up and check that it powers on, etc…?

    • No. I was reassured by Apple's claim that the serial number is legit and that the phone has warranty till January 2022. I know, I shouldn't have trusted the serial number on the box.

      • +2

        sucks :(

        I wonder if you can block it, given you have the serial #? in the off chance, he does really have the phone (and not somebody elses)?

      • He could of found the box in a bin lol

        • No, the box belongs to the phone. It's a fake iPhone. They are very good at replicating the box of a real iPhone

          • @Bangriboss: I am sure it did, but he may never actually had the phone. could of been a relo's box or found in a bin, you said you got a cheap android phone anyway?

  • +1

    You need to tell the police that your father is friends with the Speaker of the House or some senior political advisor.

  • +1

    There seems to be some steps skipped here, he gave you the phone, yet you couldnt tell it was a fake android ? Was it in a box, did you not open the box to check what you were getting ? Something doesnt sound right here.

    • I know it doesn't sound right. But I was in a rush for a Zoom meeting and just opened the box to see if the phone is there. And it does look exactly like a real iPhone. But I didn't power it on and didn't check further.

      • +3

        The whole point of meeting face to face is to check the item before handing over the money, that is the most important part of a transaction. Is a few mins of your time in haste worth $1850 to not thoroughly check the item you are buying before paying for it. I still don't get how this is possible.

        • I was a fool who trusted people.

  • Is There Anything I Can Do?

    Keep Looking for Telstra JB deal to buy an S21

  • hopefully trolls won't find another reason to comment

    I can think of many reasons but I won't go there

    • The person above you just found one of them.

      • Maybe share thief's Instagram account and we can all message him:

        "Please kindly return the $1850. [Insert name] - Comanchero City Chapter."

        That will wig him out and return the money for sure.

  • You can use tik tok to name and shame?! But on a serious note, you should go back to the police station and lodge a complaint for theft. As this is what it is. Also, there are a gouvernment website where you can report it as a scam and provide the details and all the information you got and the financial loss : https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam .

    Good luck.

    • Thanks for this. I've already reported it to Scamwatch. Wish there was a scumwatch.

      • I forgot to add that once you filed the information and lodged it, you should take a screenshot and send it to the culprit. Sometimes, it does wonder. I recover some funds in the past like that as the person freak out to be on a government watch.

        • +2

          I've done that as well. I also sent him a photo of myself while filling the police report. He just doesn't care. He probably knows how useless the police is in following small-scale scams.

  • F

    • G

  • Based on details provided by OP it appears that the scammer had a court date on 5 October 2020 in Victoria.

    • +1

      Really? So he is probably used to this.

    • +1

      And Feb 10 2021 too

  • +1

    Googling this fellow for kicks shows he had has multiple court appearances on criminal matters.

    • Damn! I guess I'm not gonna see my money.

      • +1

        I heard that brake fluid on a car's duco brings out the shine…

  • The Cuz needs it for his Rolex, Merc and court fees.

  • They probably got stuck with it themselves (no doubt from the dubious lifestyle they are in) and was keen to offload it…

    Dunno why they would be dumb enough to do it from their own Facebook page otherwise.

  • Thank you so much OzB. I'm feeling much better now, even if I never see my money again. You guys are it!

  • He has deleted all his instagram posts. Still hasn't blocked me though.

  • +1

    With this amount of information, I'd say you've done most of the legwork for the cops to swoop in.

    • I have. The name, the suburb he lives in, his phone number, several face photos.

    • I'm thinking the French Foreign Legion will be in first

  • What is the suburb he lives in?

  • -3

    The police took a report. Most people don't get to this stage. It means they will investigate. Plus you have shown that he has prior cases. So maybe that's why they are more interested. However, by doxxing him and making this thread, I think you have overreacted. In addition, a new trend is online defamation cases. Better hope he or someone he knows doesn't find this thread.

    • +1

      My hope would be that they don't see your comment.

      • see my comment below… Might be worth a drive past the Broady and Roxy houses. Look for the car etc

        • +1

          Saw it. Thanks.

    • So if OP is overreacted, how would you do it if this happens to you?

      Roll over and just play dead?

  • Haiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • The OP has asked for the thread to be removed. We'll therefore close the comments as it has resulted in a lot of personal information being shared, including that of other people who aren't the offender. These comment have also been unpublished.

    Feel free to private message the OP, should there be anything further you wish to pass on.

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