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How does Apple keep falling for the same iPhone repair scam?

The culprits could face up to 20 years in prison.

Published onFebruary 20, 2024

Apple iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max 3
Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority
  • Two people were found guilty of defrauding Apple out of millions of dollars worth of iPhones.
  • The two sent over 5,000 fake iPhones to Apple for repair, which Apple replaced with real iPhones.
  • This isn’t the first time Apple has fallen for this same scam.

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Apple has once again fallen victim to a repair scam where fake handsets were switched with real models, like the iPhone 15.

According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office, two residents of Maryland — both Chinese nationals — were found guilty by a federal jury in the District of Columbia of attempting to defraud Apple. Haotian Sun, 33, and Pengfei Xue, 33, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud, which comes with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The two were said to be engaged in a “sophisticated scheme” that involved sending fake iPhones to Apple for repair. Apple would then replace these counterfeits with genuine iPhones. Over a span of two and a half years, the duo reportedly submitted over 5,000 handsets with the intention of causing “a loss of more than $3 million.”

In an attempt to keep anyone from catching on, the two used various aliases. However, they were caught and arrested on December 5, 2019. Sentencing is set to begin on June 21, 2024.

As mentioned earlier, this isn’t the first time Apple has fallen for this. The tech giant has experienced this scam at least three other times. You would think one of the biggest companies in the world would have ways of telling real from fake.

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