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Scammers using 'sleight of hand' to sell fake iPhones, Richmond RCMP warn

Facebook Marketplace. (Shutterstock) Facebook Marketplace. (Shutterstock)

Mounties in Richmond are out with a warning after fake phones "made by a well-known company named after fruit" were sold through Facebook Marketplace

The detachment received two separate reports describing a similar scam last week that involved victims who were looking to purchase the latest generation of iPhone, according to a news release from the detachment.

"Upon meeting, the victims viewed an authentic phone. After money had been exchanged, a sleight of hand occurred whereby the authentic phone was switched out for a counterfeit version, and the suspect left with the money," the statement says.

Spokesperson Cpl. Dennis Hwang says while the "vast majority" of transactions arranged through online sellers proceed without any issues, cases like this one offer an opportunity to warn buyers to beware.

"We simply wish to remind the community that there are some bad actors that do not have your best interests at heart," he said.

The Richmond RCMP has a "safe transaction area" in the detachment lobby and the statement notes other police stations do as well. Arranging purchases at these locations is one way Hwang says people can guard against being scammed.

"If a buyer or seller refuses to meet at such a location, as it benefits the safety of both parties, consider avoiding the transaction altogether," he says.

Other safety tips include meeting in public locations where there are likely to be both witnesses and security cameras, being wary of purchasing something from a newly-created online account and being skeptical of offers that seem "too good to be true." Top Stories

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