Is this guy legit or a scammer?

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by Chrismbo, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Chrismbo macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    I saw this ad on gumtree about a brand new sealed iphone 4 factory unlocked for £400. I spoke to the guy on the phone and arranged to meet the following the day in New Malden.

    Next day we met at Mcdonald in New Malden. The guys in his early twenties, had a rather middle eastern look (then again I could be mistaken here).

    At mcdonald, on the spot before paying him cash, I called Apple store white city to check that the phone is not registered, not reported stolen and indeed factory unlocked. Everything checked out and I registered it with my name, mobile number and email on the phone. We shook hands and he even directed me to the nearest Three store in order to get a microsim, something which I didn't know but hey that was nice of him. He also told me how iphone 4 has problems with its antenna and all...that I had already known. Before we parted ways, I broke the seal and checked that there was nothing funny inside - that also checked out.

    Anyway, went to Three store, picked up a microsim, went home and waited up to 24h to activate it in order to activate my new iphone (it's like double activation arghhhh!!!). Long story short, I decided to use a normal virgin sim, cut it down to micro size and voila! I activated my iphone 4! I even made a few calls with that sim, browsed the net.

    24h later, tried the microsim from Three, itunes gave me something like "this sim card doesn't seem to be supported blah blah blah..." tried an o2 microsim, same thing. Retried virgin sim and called their free number 789, no longer worked!!!

    Got bck in touch with the guy who sold me the phone, he was still cool and apologised. He said then he spoke with orange from whom he ordered the phone, they said the phone was supposed to work only with his sim and any other will get the phone blocked. Indeed i suspected that my iphone was blocked, but Apple didn't seem to notice that the many times I spoke with them on the phone, gave them the serial number and the IMEI. The phone was not reported stolen or anything.

    Now the guy agreed to refund me. He would send the phone back to orange and they would replace it with one that would accept every sim. He even agreed to refund my travel expenses. He told me that he has no debit or credit card, he is going to pay me by cheque. He will even bring his ID when we meet up so that I have peice of mind.

    Before we met, I spoke with London Metropolitan Police and there was pretty much nothing they could do, they just told me not to accuse someone until fraud is committed so I should meet up with the guy and accept the cheque. I shouldn't worry about whether or not the cheque is false at this stage. I even went to my bank and told them the situation I was in, if they cheque was a forgery and/or bounced, I wouldn't be penalized or anything, they said, no I won't, the bank will just write to me and inform me what had happened with the cheque.

    So we met up today, he again apologised and didn't get why Orange had blocked the phone. We sat in a coffee shop, we chatted and finally I showed him his iphone in still brand new condition.

    He took out his cheque book, signed a cheque for me.

    I checked his signature with his provisional driving licence.

    Checked his picture against his provisional licence.

    I even took a photo of him with my phone, he laughed.

    I took a picture of his cheque together with his driver's licence,

    I made him write on a piece of paper and sign that he had sold me an iphone 4 serial number [xxx] on [date] to me [full name]. He now is refunding me £400 paid by cheque.

    I finally went to my bank, deposited the cheque and now I am waiting.

    All these measures I took was for my peace of mind and and yet the guy was all laid back and cool about it. Now, given his handling of the situation, does this guy sound like a scammer or he is genuine? with appearance, I couldn't see anything wrong with him. I'm still a little shaken for the fact that I got cheques instead when I bought the iphone with cash. I told the guy I still want the iphone 4 and he said, if that's what I want, he would get back to me as soon as he gets the replacement and I will pay him back his money (obviously from his cheque).

    Anybody can share anything about this situation? any post here or to my email would really be appreciated.

  2. 3soteric macrumors member


    Oct 28, 2010
    in a pineapple, under the sea
    I think its going to be a case of wait and see im afraid....although I would have demanded the cash rather than cheque. I cant think of anyone with a chequebook that doesn't have a card for the same account

    Still - he is innocent until proven guilty.
  3. Barneygumble47 macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2010
    N. Ireland
    Strange why he couldn't withdraw cash and give it to you but he showed you his licence he may be legit assuming in wasn't fake.

    Let us know how you get on.
  4. iUser4Lyfe macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2009
    Sounds to me like you got antsy and started putting any sim you wanted into the phone. Seems legit enough to me. Be patient next time and activate it with the correct sim.
  5. bigsexyy81 macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2010
    Normally I would say scammer. But you have plenty of evidence with the picture and I'm sure he would be hesitant to allow that unless he is that good.

    I would've told him that he doesn't get the phone back till the check clears but that's just me.
  6. thelatinist macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Sounds to me like the phone wasn't actually unlocked (even if it was eligible, he had to pay the fee and wait for the unlock to go through). In any case, it doesn't sound like it was done knowingly. Hope everything works out.
  7. Neverbepeace macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2009
    New York
    Not sure.....but how can you write a check if you don't have have debit card (checking account)....?

    I could be wrong though.......:D
  8. sawah macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2010
    Not everyone that has a checking account has a debit card.
  9. Chrismbo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    He was in his job lunch break and he couldn't walk to the nearest Barclays Bank for him to do all that. He said that he has gambling problems so his mum advised him against having a debit/credit card because he would be easily tempted to go to the nearest cash machine and withdraw money.

    He is the gamer type of lad, 22 years old, he told me about his new macbook pro he bought around £1200 but with phones, he's going for the new blackberry torch so he is not the iphone type. I've also today checked his full name on facebook and his page came up with his pic as well (44 friends), checking his siblings link, he is originally from Iran. Could he have created this account on fb just for me anticipating that I'd check his name online?

    I guess my question was do scammers allow themselves to go through all this? or maybe the scam would be now that he has both the phone and my money while I have his cheque waiting to be cleared?

    I'll keep you guys updated. So now I'm waiting for his cheque to clear (bank told me next week wednesday ~ 3 working days) and for him to get the replaced iphone 4.

    If this works out well, I'll be so happy because right now I have mixed feelings, 80% that this might work out just fine and %20 a bit doubting still.

    ASSUMING this was a scam, will measures I have taken help in any way? having his picture on my phone (a rather good one for that matter), mobile number, text messages about meeting up and other info, having spoken to the police, his signed statement etc what could I use them for? court case? police investigation? I'm pretty sure both at McDonalds and in the coffee shop today, there was CCTV.
  10. matthew23 macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    I think you should relax. If it was a scam he probably would not have come back to give you your money for the phone in the first place. Plus, he would have gotten freaked out at all the measures you were taking to identify him (the picture, checking the signature, etc.). I think he thought the phone was unlocked and when it wasn't he was willing to remedy the situation. He even offered to refund your transportation costs...I'll bet, as long as he has the money in his account (and didn't gamble it away :) you'll get your money. I probably would have asked him to give me a cashier's check from his bank though.
  11. biohead macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    West Drayton, UK
    Just a thought, but I didn't think Orange could supply an unlocked iPhone? I thought only Apple could provide them unlocked and carrier provided ones were locked.

    Maybe the locking only kicks in after activation with Apple which explain why you could initially activate with the Virgin card?

    Like I say, just a thought and nothing more.
  12. Chrismbo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    As it turns out, the cheques bounced!!! I reported the guy to the police with all the pictures, signed statements etc I took the day he gave me the cheques.

    It turns out that the picture on the provisional driving licence was not his, it was his brother who looked a lot like him, I discovered all this on his facebook. So he used his brother's chequebook, isn't that like identity theft or something? Police told me that even if he pays me, he still is in trouble because he used someone else's identify and committed fraud by deception with it.

    How does London Metropolitan Police go about this=-do they investigate and arrest the guy?
    How long does it take?
    Do they ask him to appear in court?

    I've never reported anything to the police before nor went to court. My main hope is that the guy is arrested and asked to show up in court, then the judge judges that he pays me back the money given the evidence.
  13. moka macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    sorry to hear about that, but the whole situation seemed fishy when he offered to write you a check instead of giving you cash. He probably knew the phone would not work and you would call him back asking for assistance or to return the phone and he would end up getting the phone and the money, he probably had it planned all along. Then again i am just speculating from the information i have read in this thread, he might have gambled the check money :)

    Good luck in getting this resolved and keep us posted.
  14. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit

    well good that you did all that, just goes to show if it sounds to good to be true most likely is. his brother might help you who knows I would have asked the police the process and what to expect. good luck I would have guessed the check being bad.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2005
    If you have a cheque book you have a debit card...
  16. Sixth Street macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2007
    What's done is done, but just wanted to reply to say that I would never ever accept a personal check in exchange for goods (which is what you did here even though it was a reversal of a previous transaction). If they can write a check, they can either pay cash or buy a money order or cashiers check, and those are the only three payment methods you should accept.

    If they insist on personal check, you keep the goods until the funds clear.
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Sorry to hear that. In the future don't do checks in face to face transactions.

    But at least you were able to take pictures, etc. So it's likely you'll get your money back.
  18. Goldinboy17 macrumors 65816


    Jun 21, 2010
    San Francisco, Ca
    A cheque, seriously? I hate those things when doing any sort of similar transaction. Cash is the way to go. Still seems a little odd he couldn't just go to his bank and withdraw the cash. It's possible he just didn't have the funds at the time and would have deposited the money a day or so later. That's actually when I do use cheque's, because I have a couple of days to put the money into my account before it goes through. The fact he answered your calls is a good sign, and at least you have a picture of him.
  19. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    Even if he is arrested, you may not, as of right, be entitled to have your money back. If you want your money back, you will need to instigate a civil suit, the criminal suit will not directly contribute to your recovery of funds.
  20. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    Reading this really made my heart sink... when it began I was really hoping for the best for you, then it just kept getting worse and worse with the check (this is 2010, most people who use a "check" together with technology usually are up to something - either floating money they don't have at the moment, or at all).. I hate to be pessimistic, but the reason they came out with debit\check cards was to alleviate some of the issues with checks.

    I'm surprised the guy even showed up... most scam sellers would just not have answered the phone and he'd have his $$ and you'd have a worth-LESS phone.

    Hopefully it's easier to collect on bad debt in the UK. The US makes it super-easy to get a judgement against someone, but enforcing it is next to impossible unless they're a business.

    Do let us know how it turns out. I'm pulling for you. Please let us know how it unfolds.
  21. Yachtprojects macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    All I can say is what a shame, however, in the university of hard knocks you have just finished term 1.

    Learn from it, i have an honors degree from the same university, over 50 years of business its been a lot more than 400 quid and from some very well known and famous people. Currently chasing a very well known actor for 250K that he decided not to pay for some repairs on his mega yacht ! And he is on TV and in Movies all the time. Basically you can never be sure but always be aware.
    Cheques, Checks however you spell it are a thing of the past ! cold hard cash

    good one to remember is and its written on every US treasury note

    IN GOD WE TRUST... what is not written is "the rest pay cash"
  22. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    You ought to be careful about publishing stuff like that on a public website. Especially if you settle matters with this celebrity, where confidentiality clauses are almost always drafted such that any discussion of the terms and/or parties may leave you in quite a pickle.
  23. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    Nice... yeah, whenever someone asks to pay with a check I wonder why. People seem to give a check more credit than it is, which is nothing more than a note saying "I promise to pay you the $$, but you'll have to go to your bank and have them take the money from my bank"... The process is so primitive in a day of electronic banking, debit cards, etc. If someone has money, they don't write checks. Now before you jump on me yeah, I know my Grandma writes a check for her electricity bill.. so let me re-state... nobody selling an iPhone writes checks as the norm. Certainly nobody who has just taken your CASH then decides you're worthy of a refund so takes his phone back and gives you a CHECK. He just got his next sit at the blackjack table at your expense.
  24. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    It's always funny when people post that. No attorney would ever do it, it's always the secretary or the office clerk who wishes he\she went to law school and overhears others talking that post these kinds of things. No lawyer would risk being publicly associated with an unresolved dispute.
  25. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    That's actually a pretty good way of putting it, and if one conceptualises a cheque as such, you would almost always be asking "why a personal cheque?"

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