Buyer beware: That iPad might be a flooring tile


SF Chronicle:

Buyer beware: That iPad might be a flooring tile

Police in the Central Valley are warning thrifty electronics consumers about scam artists selling fake iPads and flat screen televisions that appear to be the real deal — at least until the bubble wrap comes off.
Investigators in Ceres, a Stanislaus County city south of Modesto, say they have received multiple reports of victims being approached outside of businesses on Hatch Road and offered popular electronics for low, “out of the box” prices.

The grateful buyers reportedly shelled out hundreds of dollars, only to get home and realize they had obtained tiles masquerading as iPads or large pieces of wood dressed up as televisions. The perpetrators went so far as to fill boxes with packing peanuts, while including recognizable logos and accessories that usually come with such products.



I find that when I avoid buying things off the back of a truck, I also avoid being scammed. :rolleyes:


so people are buying what they probably believe are stolen goods ,and now they are complaining they were ripped off. :rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue: :tsktsk:


when it comes to technology you have to be very careful about deals.

I would say if you know it’s a place that is legit then go if not actually ask them to take it out the box and show it to you.


True enough. However, buying a popular electronic device in a store is no guarantee that something similar won’t happen:

*Jim Nevarde tells CBS News 8 he purchased what he thought was a new iPod at a local Target. Instead, she discovered the box filled with rubber erasers and index cards, and no iPod to be found. Vicki Nevarde says the colorful erasers fit in the box perfectly, but the index cards had to be specially cut to fill the void where the wires were supposed to be.

Jim returned the box to a Target store in the Midway District, where a clerk helped him pick out a new iPod off the shelf. As they walked to the counter to make the exchange, he asked the clerk to check the box. But no iPod was in that box either – just more erasers and index cards.*

As most regular readers of the site know, iPad boxes seem to be the perfect fit for scammers who buy the device, take it home, remove it from the box, seal it back up and return it for a refund… only to saddle some unsuspecting future customer with a box full of useless crud later.

Here are previous examples of why, as silly as it might sound and as dopey as you might think it looks, you should always open that box as soon as you’ve paid. And you should always try to pay with a credit card because retailers tend to listen to complaints from MasterCard, Visa, Discover or AmEx than they do when it’s just another customer.


the thing with target or walmart is that they won’t leave you out a few hundred bucks they will make sure you have an iPad and hopefully find a way to bring the other person to justice.


I’m an Apple computer tech.

Since iPads have no moving parts, using something as a weight in its place isn’t uncommon in these situations. Some go out of their way to make counterfeits that are shaped and look like the device except that they are completely inert.

It is not a bad idea, before leaving the store, to ask the store attendant to open the box and power on the device. Every iPad will come with at least 50% charge to power it up. If it fails to start, you don’t want it. Every iPad also has round clear seals on the box to thwart this. Be suspect of any box that has been opened.

Another tip is to only buy iPads from Apple itself, through their stores, high-end authorized resellers that also sell their computers (like Best Buy) or online. Few places can offer any real discounts that make it worth it to get them elsewhere, and odds are probable that the online bargain you get is a $200 pie pan with rubber inside. General stores such as Walmart is not a good idea since they don’t generally sell Macs or have a staff capable or understanding the problem, but computer stores such as Best Buy has technicians and is more equipped to work with you.


would you say that amazon is an authorized reseller assuming it is sold by amazon or apple not some no name third party?


No. Amazon often acts as a clearinghouse or reseller conduit to third parties who may or may not be authorized to sell Apple products. For the U.S., I’d only recommend buying from Apple itself or a clearly authorized Apple computer and service provider like Best Buy. A easy way to know this is if they sell both Apple computers and iDevices and if they say they are an authorized Apple repair center. Being a reseller makes you neither necessarily authorized to sell or repair.

If you buy a product at Best Buy and they give you the runaround, you can take up the issue with Apple since BB is supposed to work as an Apple agent.


Exactly. I might add that it seems odd they waited until getting home to open the boxes.


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