Fake iPad 2 fraud grows bigger
A growing scam involving fake iPad 2s being sold at Vancouver-area retail giants has now made its way to Vancouver Island.
Consumers who unwittingly bought the fraudulent Apple products opened the professionally sealed boxes only to find bags of modelling clay inside.
Scam artists are buying the computers with cash, swapping the products out for hunks of clay, and then returning them for a full refund. The fake products are then placed back on the shelves and resold to unsuspecting customers.
After CTV's Steele on Your Side aired its stories this week about a consumer hit by the con, three more people have come forward saying they also purchased one of the fake tablet computers.
One of those buyers is Victoria resident Rosemary Symchuk, who purchased an iPad 2 on New Year's Day at a Best Buy. This is believed to be the first such incident on Vancouver Island.
"The employees were all aware that this had happened on the Mainland but none of them had actually seen it," Symchuk said.
Symchuk said she was told the box should have been opened for her before she left the store, and it is now policy that nothing is returned without being opened first – even if it is factory sealed.
"After seeing the contents of my box the employees at that store understood why they should open the boxes," she said.
Other unwitting victims from Langley and Burnaby also contacted us to tell a similar tale. In those cases, they were able to receive refunds without a hassle.
So far, Future Shop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and London Drugs have been affected.
Best Buy Canada issued an official statement on its website Wednesday saying it has launched "a comprehensive investigation in cooperation with Apple and other retailers who have reported similar incidents."
"We have already implemented new systems within our stores to verify and assure all customers that their products have not been tampered with by fraudsters."
Best Buy, Future Shop and London Drugs have all amended their return policies in a bid to curb the frauds. All returned iPad 2s will now be opened in front of the customer to ensure the real product is inside.
Future Shop spokesperson Elliott Chun offered advice to worried consumers.
"Biggest tip … just make sure that you've got things like factory seals on them, things like factory stickers on them. And if it's something for yourself feel free to open it up right on the spot and make sure it's there," he told CTV's Steele on Your Side.
Since its release in March 2011, Apple's iPad 2 has become the most popular tablet computer on the market, decimating competitors, including the BlackBerry Playbook.
Watch CTV News on Thursday for a full report from Lynda Steele on shocking new revelations about how these scams are perpetrated…