iPhones are very expensive in India, leading many people to turn to the gray market in hopes of a better deal. There is a danger involved here though, since you never know if you’re about to get a defective piece or swindled by conmen.
A 26-year-old software engineer in Bengaluru named Siddharth R found out about this the hard way. As reported by The Times of India, his misfortunes began on December 14 when he saw an OLX ad for the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus. The seller was giving it away for just Rs 26500 when the MRP is Rs 69900. Thinking this was a great deal, he called the number right away.
The iPhone Con Begins
A man named Sahil Kumar answered, posing as a constable with the Central Industrial Security Force who was posted at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). Kumar asked Siddharth to meet him at the airport to pick up the iPhone 8 Plus.
Siddharth made his way to the airport that same day. Upon reaching the airport cargo building, Kumar asked him to send his ID card and location through WhatsApp. This sounds suspicious, but Siddharth went ahead and sent him those details anyway.
Kumar then informed Siddharth that he couldn’t meet him and a friend would finish the transaction. This friend, Asif Ali, asked Siddharth to send Rs 5020 to get the iPhone through customs and Rs 25000 for the first payment. The software engineer sent him Rs 30020 via Paytm, but was told that the payment didn’t get through and he should try again.
This happened over and over again. In the end, Siddharth ended up paying Rs 73091 over the course of 11 installments. He waited for a few hours and didn’t meet either Kumar or Ali. He left without the iPhone and only realized that he’d been cheated after speaking to a friend.
The police are currently investigating the case and have filed a case of cheating under IPC Section 420 and the Information Technology Act. If you’re planning to buy an iPhone through online portals, be extra cautious so that a similar fate doesn’t befall you. Don’t hand over money until you see the iPhone and have verified that it’s in working condition.