It’s not a secret that smartphones are good business. If you are lucky, you can buy a phone at promotional price and then sell it for more, this way earning some extra cash. If you have an old device that is still in decent condition, you can give it a second chance and trade it in or sell it for parts. This sounds great as long as you are reselling your own devices. However, when other people’s phones are involved, things can get a little bit complicated, sometimes even more than just a little bit. This is how a criminal made money on stolen iPhones and didn’t get away with it.
Apple’s replacement program allowed a scammer to make $40K on stolen iPhones
24-year-old Edward Hornsey apparently was in need of quick money and came up with an idea to earn a few bucks by taking advantage of Apple’s replacement program. The resourceful “businessman” was buying iPhones at cheap prices and sending them back to Apple. In return he was receiving brand new handsets which he then was selling at regular prices. It doesn’t sound like the biggest crime in history, but there was a tiny problem with the phones he was sending back to Apple – the vast majority of them (45 out of 51 to be more exact) were reported lost or stolen which he obviously didn’t bother to check.
How was it all possible? Very simple – Apple doesn’t check how many phones are send by one person, so the number of devices Hornsey was returning didn’t raise any red flags. He might have gotten away with his scam, but apparently he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. It turns out that he operated out of his bedroom, used his home address on all communication, registered his own phone number, and all the proceeds went into his personal bank account. As a result, the police didn’t have any problem locating him. At the time of his arrest, Hornsey had £27,000 ($42,500) in his bank account and a bedroom full of used phones.
That’s what happens when you want to bolster your finances quickly and without any effort and don’t mind that your business is not exactly legit. As it could be expected, Hornsey had to suffer the consequences of his actions – he has been jailed for six months. Something good might come out from this scam, though. We can expect Apple to make a few changes to its replace or repair scheme so that similar situations won’t happen in the future.