Chinese students allegedly conned Apple out of almost $1 million using fake iPhones


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According to The Oregonian, the scheme started in 2017 when Chinese nationals Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang, who were studying in Oregon, smuggled thousands of counterfeit iPhones into the US from China. The devices cost around $30 each.

The students sent the knockoff phones to Apple, claiming they wouldn’t power on. In many cases, the company sent out replacements. In total, the pair have been accused of stealing $895,000 worth of handsets from the company.

It was Jiang’s job to take the fake iPhones to an Apple store for a replacement, or use the online repair program. Zhao, who smuggled the counterfeits into the US, would then mail the replacements back to China, where they were sold for a profit. This money was wired to Jiang’s mother, who deposited it into her son's US account.

Jiang sent in over 3,000 warranty complaints to Apple, who replaced the phone in 1,493 cases. The company says that as they could not be switched on, they couldn’t be “immediately examined or repaired by Apple technicians, triggering the Apple phone replacement process as part of its product warranty."

The students claim they didn’t know the iPhones they were sending for repairs were counterfeits. Apple sent Jiang cease-and-desist orders in June and July of 2017, but he did not respond. He denies receiving the letters.

The men are facing charges that include trafficking in counterfeit goods, wire fraud, and submitting false or misleading information on an export declaration.

Apple has seen its warranty replacement programs abused in the past. Similar schemes in China had cost the company billions of dollars.

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Posts: 4,321   +4,575
If Apple wants to continue to mass produce in China, then leaks, copyright infringement and fraud are all part of the mix.

Frankly, I'd love to see iPhone being built in another country using Apple-owned and designed parts ONLY.

this way the Android cloners would have no idea what they were planning next or what parts they'd be using and would end up releasing more untargeted releases - never knowing what apple was offering that year until it's too late.


Posts: 4,321   +4,575
Out of curiosity how do fake IPhones get serial numbers that show up in Apple's system?
The only way I can thing of would be having someone on the inside of the supply chain.

Most likely they have parts produced on the China-based assembly lines.
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Posts: 556   +518
"Jiang sent in over 3,000 warranty complaints to Apple, who replaced the phone in 1,493 cases"

Nobody at Apple was a bit surprised / puzzled / amazed that one person (or even 2) would be sending so many phone warranty claims?????

PS:Asking for a friend..... How does one kill the power-on device on an IPhone?? My friend wants to get a spanking new IPhone X Max to replace his IPhone 6 Plus...