People are really making counterfeit iPhones?

Yes, we’ve seen counterfeit – fake – iPhones come into Mission Repair for service. It never works out.

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Unfortunately, bogus iPhones aren’t always so obvious. Sometimes they appear in seemingly legit online ads or real-world stores (NEVER at Mission Repair!) Regardless of where they appear, they’re out there, and the people who buy them are being ripped off.

Just how many fake iPhones are being sold in the U.S. is actually hard to pin down. Apple won’t discuss the issue, despite repeated requests for information. Anti-counterfeiting watchdog groups say the problem is big, but they don’t have numbers.

But the anecdotal evidence is there: There was the recent seizure of more than 40,000 counterfeit iPhones in China. Sales of the fakes are not uncommon overseas. Among those who have been caught peddling fake phones stateside recently are a father-son duo in Orange County, Calif.; a teen in Utah; and two stores in a Maryland mall.

Fake iPhones are just part of a much larger counterfeit-electronics problem.

“Counterfeit consumer electronics were the second-most-seized commodity in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, with an estimated MSRP (retail price) of around $145.86 million and $162.20 million, respectively,” said Matthew Bourke, spokesperson for the Intellectual Property Rights Center at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And remember: Those numbers represent just seizures, not the real volume of counterfeit goods being sold, which everyone involved assumes is much higher.

However big the problem is, what should you do when that guy slides up to you at the bar and offers you a great deal on a phone for cash — or if you’re looking at what you think is an iPhone on sale?

Do yourself a favor, don’t buy it. While it may be a good deal, and it could quite possibly be legitimate, it’s most likely going to cost you big time in the near future. Fake iPhones are not repairable…like at all. We can’t get parts for them at Mission Repair, and we have no idea who even made them. Or worse yet, the phone is real, but let’s say it crashes after 15 minutes of use after it warms up. We see this a lot…and you’d never know what kind of odd issues that piece of electronics is having without knowing it’s origin. Buyer beware, and we’re just here trying to help you out.

Good luck, Ryan

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