May 09, 2011

Detective Annie: iPhone 4 on craigslist

This is my first post as Detective Annie. Solving crimes and busting the bad guys!

I have been having some phone dilemma lately, and I thought it might be a good idea to search up some iPhones on craigslist. I saw most iPhone 4 were priced at the $500-$700 range, depending on its usage/age. Several ads stood out, with a brand new iPhone4 starting at $310. Brand new, not a clone, and promising to meet at apple store to verify authenticity. Also mentioning it was a gift/free iPhone, and need it for quick sale for cash. It all sounds too good to be true, when the apple store is selling it for $659+ Even if he did get it for free, he did not have to sell it so much below face value. So we came to the conclusion that it is probably an authentic iPhone4, but possibly stolen. To feed my curiosity, the seller replied to my inquiry. Read below for your daily entertainment dosage.

Annie Chen
Hi, is the iphone still up for sale? How come it's so much cheaper than what most people are selling it?

hey ! sorry but some lady came to pick it up right away but if you want i can tell you how i got 3 free iphones so you can get one too, my friend sent me last week this link and i just had to put in my phone number, then they sent me a text with a pin which i had to input back on the site. i received the iphone after a week, here i'll send you the link hopefully it will work for you too, and let me know if you do end up receiving one, i got 3 ! --

* Ah HA~! Things that sound too good to be true, are really too good to be true. If you are not familiar with these "complete a survey and win an iPad, win an iPhone" websites, let me debrief you. You complete what seems like an innocent survey, only to find out you need to enter your personal information and your cellphone number. Once you enter your cellphone, a PIN is sent to you via text, which by now you're probably subscribed to their program (which typically costs $2-3 per text/question) You answer some trivial questions, and earn a ballot towards winning the prize (ie, iPhone 4) So, are these website really legitimate? I don't know. I have not personally known anyone who was courageous enough to participate in these surveys, but according to the survey website FAQ,

When will a prize be awarded?
Each month 1 winner will be selected. You are entered to win by answering a question correctly, each correct answer represents 1 ballot. As such, more correct answers means more chances of winning. Winners will be notified via a personal text message. The names of the winners will be announced on the website.

It doesn't seem illegal, because once you subscribe, you are consenting to pay $3 a text message, and they promise you a ballot. The question is, who is winning these prizes? Apparently the guy selling his 3 free iPhones on Craigslist. It is a pretty clever scam, since the website is making money from your text messages. Also, who knows if this Craiglist guy isn't a rep for the site, trying to gain more interest.


*Also, there are ads on craigslist that also lists the seller's phone number, it may see more legitimate than the other ads, but think about it, if you call it, the caller has your number, and can probably sign you up for this scam service and you'll be charged! WOW.

Mystery Solved.

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