OREM — What seemed like a good deal on an iPhone 5 for an Orem woman turned into a great deal for a scam artist.
Someone approached the woman in a parking lot and offered her a new iPhone for a good price. She found out the hard way that just because it looks like an iPhone doesn't necessarily mean it is.
"Don't fall for this scam," said Lt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department. "I mean that's what it is, a scam."
Comparing a real iPhone with a fake, Martinez pointed out the similarities between the two — they look the and feel the same. However, the fake phone didn't even turn on.
"It's not a phone at all," he said. "(It) looks exactly like an iPhone, feels like an iPhone, but it's not even a real phone. It won't even work. It won't turn on. It's a total piece of junk."
The fake phone he analyzed came in Apple-style packaging with charging accessories and earphones. To the victim who bought the phone, it seems like a good deal.
"He presented it as a brand new iPhone that he just didn't need," Martinez said. "He was asking for $350 and she talked him down pretty quickly to $120. So she gave him $120 and he left."
When she took the phone to get activated, it became obvious she had just paid a lot of money for nothing. Her son was suspicious enough that he got the license plate number for the seller's car during the transaction, but when they went to trace the license plate it came back to a rental car company.
"This scam has hit Orem and Utah County," Martinez said.
The Internet is filled with warnings about counterfeit electronics. Some phony iPhone 5s turn on, but in this case police say it was clear the package was only meant to quickly deceive people into giving their cash away.
"When you are buying phones, stereo systems, speakers, don't do it in the parking lot outside of someone's trunk," Martinez said. "It never turns out good and you never get what you are paying for."
Police are concerned others fall victim to similar scams. They are advising residents that if someone tries to sell an iPhone in a parking lot they should decline. The Orem Police Department is also welcoming victims and others targeted by the scam to tip off the authorities so they can investigate the situation.