Is this an iPhone scam? If so, how does it work?

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
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Over there------->
So I bought a used iPhone 5 off of eBay after asking the seller some pretty specific questions about it. He always replied within minutes and seemed to be on the level. He had 100% positive feedback (over 300 rating) and has been on eBay for 8 years. The price was just OK, not too good to be true. He said it was his phone, that he had used for a year and then had AT&T unlock it so he could sell it.

So the phone arrived today, and it is passcode locked. It has an ugly graphic on the lock screen, and that's as far as I can get. It also came in a box labeled with the serial and IMEI number of some other phone (the IMEI number on the box doesn't match the one printed on the back of the phone).

It has only been about four hours since I contacted the seller, but so far he hasn't replied. I called AT&T, and they said that the phone has not been reported lost or stolen.

So is this a scam, or is the seller just ignorant about needing to wipe the phone? If it is a scam, how does it work? I have of course opened a case with eBay. Shouldn't it be an easy win for me? Why would anyone sell a phone that has been passcode locked?
 

DipDog3

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2002
1,182
675
So the phone arrived today, and it is passcode locked. It has an ugly graphic
So is this a scam, or is the seller just ignorant about needing to wipe the phone? If it is a scam, how does it work? I have of course opened a case with eBay. Shouldn't it be an easy win for me? Why would anyone sell a phone that has been passcode locked?
When I sell iPhones on eBay, I always ship them with passcode locked. Then the buyer is required to ask me me for the code. That way the buyer has a harder time trying scam me saying they just got an empty box. Sad we have to resort to such things.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
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Over there------->
When I sell iPhones on eBay, I always ship them with passcode locked. Then the buyer is required to ask me me for the code. That way the buyer has a harder time trying scam me saying they just got an empty box. Sad we have to resort to such things.
That's actually pretty smart, but do you at least inform your buyer up front that this will be the process? My seller said nothing about it, and he's not replying to my eBay messages.
 

DipDog3

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2002
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It does look like he has sold this exact iphone before.

http://m.ebay.com/itm?itemId=111218416748
 

Phrasikleia

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Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
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Over there------->
It does look like he has sold this exact iphone before.

http://m.ebay.com/itm?itemId=111218416748
Yeah, I asked him about that before I paid, and he replied with this:

So, I've had two people want to buy. First guy thought it was white and so he requested to cancel. Second guy had 0 feedback and has not paid so, I opened a case up on him and not selling to him.

I'm sorry if it says "excellent" I should have been more careful when posting. It's in good to very good condition. Has the normal wear and tear of any phone used for one year but the cosmetic little nicks and what not are located to the surrounding aluminum bezel. I always had a bumper on the phone bust dust would get caught under there and cause minor scratches. Otherwise, the phone is in really good condition. Back is clean, screen has the normal micro scratches that are only visible under certain light and close inspection.

I understand your concerns please feel free to explore them with your questions.
 

g4manimac

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2013
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Arkansas
One major thing is it iOS 6.1.3 or later or iOS 7? As long as its not 7 you will still be ok as long as its not blacklisted.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
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Over there------->
One major thing is it iOS 6.1.3 or later or iOS 7? As long as its not 7 you will still be ok as long as its not blacklisted.
It is iOS 7.

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And I should add that his description of "micro scratches" only wasn't true. There is one big, deep scratch on the screen, below the '9' key:




There is also a dent in the metal at the top that he didn't mention.

I might be able to live with those problems, but I can't use a phone that is passcode locked!
 

Señor

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
427
4
United States
Sellers do this to prevent buyer scams, so of course people will reply with "Why is it password locked?" so if they try to scam, Ebay will know it arrived.

Just ask him for the lock and he'll send it.

If he doesn't then open up a case.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
Sellers do this to prevent buyer scams, so of course people will reply with "Why is it password locked?" so if they try to scam, Ebay will know it arrived.

Just ask him for the lock and he'll send it.

If he doesn't then open up a case.
DipDog3 mentioned that practice above, but I don't see why you can't inform your buyer up front that they will have to contact you to get the code or have the phone wiped via iCloud. At any rate, it has been nearly five hours now, and the seller hasn't replied to any of my emails. Before he had my money he replied within minutes. Maybe he's off the grid temporarily, but I'm getting very worried.
 

Señor

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
427
4
United States
DipDog3 mentioned that practice above, but I don't see why you can't inform your buyer up front that they will have to contact you to get the code or have the phone wiped via iCloud. At any rate, it has been nearly five hours now, and the seller hasn't replied to any of my emails. Before he had my money he replied within minutes. Maybe he's off the grid temporarily, but I'm getting very worried.
Because buyers always find a way to screw with the seller if they tell them something before hand.

They will either pull a "Send the code via Email" trying to outsmart Ebay with getting nothing on record or "Gah, I'm sending this thing back" after they receive the word that they won't be scamming it today.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
Because buyers always find a way to screw with the seller if they tell them something before hand.

They will either pull a "Send the code via Email" trying to outsmart Ebay with getting nothing on record or "Gah, I'm sending this thing back" after they receive the word that they won't be scamming it today.
Well, I've already opened a case with eBay to request a refund. If someone sells me something that won't work without contacting them first, then they had better be quick to reply to my complaint. He hasn't been.

Another point of concern: I've just plugged his return address into Google Maps, and it's showing as non-existant. :confused:
 

Señor

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
427
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United States
Well, I've already opened a case with eBay to request a refund. If someone sells me something that won't work without contacting them first, then they had better be quick to reply to my complaint. He hasn't been.

Another point of concern: I've just plugged his return address into Google Maps, and it's showing as non-existant. :confused:
If this is the case then he might have bought some feedback and didn't scam anybody for 8 years. :confused:

It doesn't make sense why he'd through 8 years of 100% feedback down the toilet.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
If this is the case then he might have bought some feedback and didn't scam anybody for 8 years. :confused:

It doesn't make sense why he'd through 8 years of 100% feedback down the toilet.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking when I decided to buy from him. With that kind of feedback and his prompt and detailed replies, I felt fine about it. Then things started to make me worry:

1) He marked the package as shipped on Dec. 4, but provided no tracking number.

2) I requested the tracking number, but he never replied to me. A tracking number did show up on Dec. 5, however.

3) The actual tracking for the item showed that he didn't bring it to USPS until Dec. 6 (two days after he marked it as shipped).

I figured, OK, that's sloppy service. I was a little concerned, but felt better when the package started moving. Now it's finally here, and he is still not responding to my messages. Once he got my money, he went incommunicado.
 

luckydcxx

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2013
1,158
419
All the hassle and now you might be out $475. You should have just saved up another 200 and bought the 5s new from apple. I never understood why people buy used phones. They usually are scratched/dented, have been charged probably over 400 times (now you only have 80% capacity compared to new). I will always buy new.

If money is that tight for you then either you shouldn't be buying a phone that is that expensive or $75 more you could have gotten the 5c which has better specs then the 5 and you know exactly where it is coming from and has a 1 year warranty.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,532
At the iPhone hacks section.
At any rate, it has been nearly five hours now, and the seller hasn't replied to any of my emails.
Wow, nearly 5 hours huh?
That's definitely way too long to wait cause we know everyone sits by their email and don't have to work or anything else to do all day. Be a little patient. He's been around since 2005 with 335 transactions and 100% feedback.

Either way wait for a reply or open a case.
If he doesn't respond to you or the open ebay case then you will get your money back and keep the phone for free.
Take some deep breaths and don't panic.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
All the hassle and now you might be out $475. You should have just saved up another 200 and bought the 5s new from apple. I never understood why people buy used phones. They usually are scratched/dented, have been charged probably over 400 times (now you only have 80% capacity compared to new). I will always buy new.

If money is that tight for you then either you shouldn't be buying a phone that is that expensive or $75 more you could have gotten the 5c which has better specs then the 5 and you know exactly where it is coming from and has a 1 year warranty.
That's some very fuzzy math. A new 32GB iPhone 5S would cost $817.50 with tax, which is $342.50 more than I paid. I don't know where you're getting 200 from. I don't like the 5C because it's larger and heavier. I also can't stand the look of the plastic.

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Wow, nearly 5 hours huh?
That's definitely way too long to wait cause we know everyone sits by their email and don't have to work or anything else to do all day. Be a little patient. He's been around since 2005 with 335 transactions and 100% feedback.

Either way wait for a reply or open a case.
If he doesn't respond to you or the open ebay case then you will get your money back and keep the phone for free.
Take some deep breaths and don't panic.
I acknowledged earlier that he may just be off the grid temporarily, but before he had my money, he was replying nearly instantly. Then after I paid and had a question, I never heard from him again. He never did reply to my question about the tracking number, which makes me less inclined to exercise great patience at this point.
 

luckydcxx

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2013
1,158
419
That's some very fuzzy math. A new 32GB iPhone 5S would cost $817.50 with tax, which is $342.50 more than I paid. I don't know where you're getting 200 from. I don't like the 5C because it's larger and heavier. I also can't stand the look of the plastic.
it was an approximation.

larger and heavier? really?

iphone 5
Height: 4.87 inches (123.8 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.30 inch (7.6 mm)
Weight: 3.95 ounces (112 grams)

iPhone 5C
Height: 4.90 inches (124.4 mm)
Width: 2.33 inches (59.2 mm)
Depth: 0.35 inch (8.97 mm)
Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)

Those millimeters and 20 grams make it that bad for you? Put a case on it and you will never know its plastic. It is a very solid feeling phone.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
it was an approximation.

larger and heavier? really?

iphone 5
Height: 4.87 inches (123.8 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.30 inch (7.6 mm)
Weight: 3.95 ounces (112 grams)

iPhone 5C
Height: 4.90 inches (124.4 mm)
Width: 2.33 inches (59.2 mm)
Depth: 0.35 inch (8.97 mm)
Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)

Those millimeters and 20 grams make it that bad for you? Put a case on it and you will never know its plastic. It is a very solid feeling phone.
I'm not sure what your point is with those specs (they show that the 5C is indeed larger and heavier) but it's really besides the point. I purchased a phone that I liked that would give me a couple of good years of service at a good price. I buy used items all the time. I only pay retail for anything that is critically important to me. I use my iPad a lot more than I use my phone, so I didn't hesitate to buy a new iPad Air. I'm just not a big phone person, so this price point for a used phone makes sense for me.
 

luckydcxx

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2013
1,158
419
I'm not sure what your point is with those specs (they show that the 5C is indeed larger and heavier) but it's really besides the point. I purchased a phone that I liked that would give me a couple of good years of service at a good price. I buy used items all the time. I only pay retail for anything that is critically important to me. I use my iPad a lot more than I use my phone, so I didn't hesitate to buy a new iPad Air. I'm just not a big phone person, so this price point for a used phone makes sense for me.
The point of posting the specs is that if you had each phone in either hand you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if they had a case on them.

If you aren't that big of a phone person then maybe the 4s NEW from Apple would have been the way to go. I was simply pointing out that buying used electronics on ebay is a terrible idea. Apple is a premium brand and it's not meant for people looking for a good price point. I'm not saying that you don't have any money since you bought the iPad air, but to save $300 it might have costed you $475.
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
12,819
2,381
New Sanfrakota
[/COLOR]And I should add that his description of "micro scratches" only wasn't true. There is one big, deep scratch on the screen, below the '9' key:




There is also a dent in the metal at the top that he didn't mention.
Where did he say there were "micro scratches"? I can't find it in his description? He mentioned excellent condition, but that's extremely subjective for an used iPhone and a step down from one advertised as mint condition.
 

Phrasikleia

macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
4,077
400
Over there------->
The point of posting the specs is that if you had each phone in either hand you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if they had a case on them.

If you aren't that big of a phone person then maybe the 4s NEW from Apple would have been the way to go. I was simply pointing out that buying used electronics on ebay is a terrible idea. Apple is a premium brand and it's not meant for people looking for a good price point. I'm not saying that you don't have any money since you bought the iPad air, but to save $300 it might have costed you $475.
I want an iPhone 5, OK? LOL. There are features of the iPhone 5 that I will find very useful. I gave it a lot of thought. Don't quite want to go all in for a new 5S, but $475 for a working used phone hits my sweet spot. Not that any of this really matters for this thread! I'm past the shopping point here!

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Where did he say there were "micro scratches"? I can't find it in his description? He mentioned excellent condition, but that's extremely subjective for an used iPhone and a step down from one advertised as mint condition.
He said it in a message to me, which I quoted earlier in this thread: https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/18480603/
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
12,819
2,381
New Sanfrakota
If money is that tight for you then either you shouldn't be buying a phone that is that expensive or $75 more you could have gotten the 5c which has better specs then the 5 and you know exactly where it is coming from and has a 1 year warranty.
A slightly larger battery combined with a plastic case pretty much negate the better specs. They're basically the same specs and some may find the 5 more desirable because it has a metal case, especially in now discontinued black and slate.
 
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