Watch Out! Scammers Want To Sell You A Fake iPad This Christmas. Here’s How To Avoid Being Ripped Off

Watch Out! Scammers Want To Sell You A Fake iPad This Christmas. Here’s How To Avoid Being Ripped Off

Fake iPads (Credit: Flickr/ukhomeoffice)

You want to buy an iPad for Christmas. The problem: scammers know it too and are waiting in prey for you this holiday season. Here are some tips on how to safely shop for tablets online without falling victim to hoax high-tech Santas.

Fake iPads often originate in China — that’s the word from MarkMonitor, a firm warning consumers of something called “brandjacking.” This scam essentially relies on harried consumers who spot a photo of an iPad, but miss that the online ad fails to mention “Apple” or even the product name.

“As we head into the holiday shopping season, consumers should beware these ‘brand impersonators’ who are hidden in plain sight while brands need to be extra vigilant in foiling those who seek to profit at their expense,” says company CMO Frederick Felman. Such scammers track hot trends — such as everyone and their mother wanting an iPad — and pounce.

But you would never fall for such tricks, right? According to MarkMonitor, there is a minefield of fakes online that can be difficult to avoid. In July, the company found 23,000 iPad clones, counterfeits or illegally-imported gray market tablets. More than 8,000 sellers were hawking iPad clones from 15 manufacturers. The group also found 6,600 counterfeit sites visited more than 75 million times each year.

That was one day in July. You can guess how many fake sites will be selling faux iPads now.

Another tip is to stay with known sites, such as Apple.com or Amazon.com. Of course, this requires you to plan ahead and not wait until the last moment – which is what the scammers count on. Phishers hope you’ll be too busy entering your bank’s url to notice the typo sending you to a fake site. Scammers also count on you being too busy looking for an iPad to never notice the Apple brand never appears in the online ad.

It is ironic most of these fake iPads originate from China, because the country is also Apple’s second-largest market. So, while it is making money assembling iPads in China, Apple is losing money to that nation’s counterfeiters selling fake iPads. While fake iPads for Apple may just be a cost of doing business in China, it could ruin your holiday – so beware, and make sure you’re only buying the real thing!

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  • Jordan Clay

    The only problem with this story is that Amazon does not sell the iPad.  Only 3P merchants do.  and they are, not guaranteed, and outrageously expensive compared to Wal-Mart, Target, and Apple.

    The best thing I can say, is if it sounds too good to be true……it probably is.

  • al friede

    amazon doesn’t sell ipads? 

    http://www.amazon.com/Apple-iP

  • al friede

    amazon most certainly sells ipads!!!

  • Agree (with Alumnus)

    apple is making money assembling these units in China, and losing money to Chinese scammers… Seems like a wash. I love Apple products, but they certainly are not a US CItizen friendly company… Shameful…

  • Len Williams

    Huh? I’m a US citizen and Apple is the friendliest company I’ve ever purchased from–and I’ve been a Mac user since 1989. You may have a personal axe to grind with Apple, but to typify them as unfriendly and shameful to US citizens is way too much of a generality. A few specifics might be helpful.

    Last year when I had trouble getting my 3-year-old MacBook Pro repaired, they GAVE me a brand new one to make up for the additional time it had taken! The Apple reps always go out of their way to be helpful, both in the store and when I call in for tech support.

  • CharliK

    How to avoid scammers. Buy from Apple. Or from known official sources like Best Buy etc.

  • Marcotor

    Well, if American consumers would stop insisting on $499 iPads, and American workers would stop insisting on $65,000/year factory jobs with lifetime benefits.. we all could enjoy $1500 iPads, made in the good ol USA.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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