Apple Discovers Fraud Involving Exchange of Counterfeit Products Under Warranty for Real Devices

Apple Discovers Fraud Involving Exchange of Counterfeit Products Under Warranty for Real Devices
Apple | Getty Images | Gary Hershorn

Apple is probably one of the most sought-after electronic brands in this day and age, as consumers will line up to get their hands on an iPhone or smartwatch for a discount. A Dutch national, eyeing profits from this demand for Apple products, has been sentenced to prison for his role in a Europe-wide scam that involved exchanging counterfeit Apple products under warranty for genuine replacement or repair. Che Wei pled guilty to fraud by false representation and possession of articles used in fraud that was investigated by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police.

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Law enforcement is still working to catch another man suspected of orchestrating the fraud alongside Wei, who has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment and has also been ordered to pay around $1612 in costs at Inner London Crown Court.

Wei had entered the UK via a ferry when he was topped by the police. There were suspicions that he had booked multiple counterfeit devices to be replaced under warranty using fake names and addresses, as per the City of London Police. 

Pexels | Tomasz Kulesa
Pexels | Tomasz Kulesa

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Detective Constable Jason Theobald said that it was because of Apple's investigations that they were able to track this down. He also described how warranty fraud causes losses worth millions of dollars every year in the UK.

Despite Wei being sentenced, authorities are appealing for any information regarding an unidentified male who they believe was working with him. Chief Inspector Chris Carter adds that Wei was highly "mistaken" to believe that he could "freely move across Europe committing high-value fraud offenses."

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Pexels | Mateusz Dach
Pexels | Mateusz Dach

This is not the only incident where criminals got caught for trying to scam people with counterfeit Apple products. Two brothers, Zhimin and Zhiting Liao who lived in San Diego were also caught in 2019 for attempting to exchange 10,000 fake Apple products in 8 years. They were sentenced to federal prison, as per Times of San Diego.



 

The piracy and counterfeiting economy is worth between $200 billion to $250 billion per year and is also the reason why 750,000 Americans lost their jobs last year. This makes it extremely important to take a few precautions and know a few things to shield ourselves from it.

Online shopping is a boon, however, there are plenty of downsides to it, including the fact that anyone can sell you fake products anytime. But, here are some ways you can shield yourself from fraud.

Research: While, they can be extremely difficult to spot, researching and having knowledge about retailers and sellers can always help you to avoid any shady or misleading offers online.

Pay attention to reviews: Real people with real experiences can give you a good indication of the quality of what they produce. Any seller or product with shady reviews or no reviews should be avoided at all costs. 

Spot fake reviews: While it can be difficult to tell, there are some signs. For example, if two amazing reviews claim the exact opposite of a million negative reviews, there's a good chance that those reviews are written by people who have been paid.

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