CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The owner and operator of Device Doctors warns that fake iPhones have hit the streets on P.E.I.
Cory Rusk said he’s got bins full of knock-offs at his Charlottetown store that are rendered useless, leaving customers without a phone and out significant money.
“Our main thing is the awareness for the customer,’’ Rusk said. “This is the best place to come with your device to get it checked out to make sure it’s working properly.’’
Rusk said the warning is for customers purchasing the phones via a third party, such as on Facebook or Kijiji.
“People are buying them and they (end up) iCloud locked . . . so once the customer tries to go through the process of iCloud, of setting that phone up they can’t get any further than the iCloud. People are meeting in parking lots . . . to purchase these phones, get home and hook them up to the internet and they’re locked. Then it becomes garbage, it becomes a paper weight because they can’t get past the security setting.’’
An iPhone that has been activation locked can only be unlocked with the iCloud credentials of its owner.
Rusk advises people before spending any money on a third-party phone to have the phone inspected by an expert first, no different than taking a car out for a test drive before agreeing to purchase it.
“Tell the customer that you are talking to on Facebook or Kijiji that you don’t want to buy this until you have a mechanic check it out, which you would do for a car. Well, why not do it with a $400 to $500 phone? Have them come to Device Doctors and we can check the phone out and make sure the charge cord is working, make sure the battery is good, make sure the camera is working.’’
Rusk said there’s no question people are looking to save money, but in the end it could easily end up costing more if the purchaser is stuck with a locked, fake phone.
Rusk showed The Guardian two phones, one that was an actual working iPhone and one that was fake. They looked identical. The only difference this reporter could see was when Rusk physically took the fake iPhone apart, not an easy task for many people and not something he would recommend people do.
“In our location, we have bins and bins of phones that are iCloud locked.’’