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19 June


Two student fooled Apple of nearly US$1 million

They change fake iPhones to real ones through return service

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ Two Oregon students had rather a lot more riding on Apple’s replacement policy. They allegedly defrauded the company of nearly US$1 million by sending in counterfeit iPhones, claiming they were faulty, and receiving brand-new genuine models as replacements. This article appeared in The Guardian.

A criminal complaint filed last month by federal prosecutors describes a scheme in which the students, Zhou Yangyang and Jiang Quan, who are both Chinese citizens, would receive shipments of thousands of fake iPhones from an accomplice in China. The pair would then send the phones to Apple with fake repair requests, often claiming the phones would not turn on.

Forged iPhones can now be made to be so convincing that even Apple engineers believe they are authentic and so, out of 3,069 repair requests made by Zhou between April 2017 and March 2018, prosecutors claim Apple completed 1,493 of them at a cost of US$895,800. The rest were returned to the pair because Apple engineers believed they had been “tampered” with, invalidating the warranty, although none were recognised by the company as counterfeits.

Jiang has been charged with trafficking counterfeit goods and wire fraud, and Zhou with submitting false information on export documentation.