People peddling pretend iPads in U.S. parking lots have now gone mobile. First spotted in North Texas, a 50-person strong scam ring has branched out to Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
They approach customers in convenience stores and shopping center parking lots with some variant of the “Pssst, buddy want to buy an iPad” at a price of a few hundred dollars. The scammers show the mark a real iPad, then once they get the cash switch it for a bubble-wrapped FedEx box that contains a Plexiglass frame covered in duct tape for heft.
“I have leads from Florida to Georgia to Mississippi,” said Texas detective Alex Chasteen. “They are renting cars and driving here to sell the fake iPads.”
The pack of thieves – believed to be about 50 in total – is thought to be operating out of Jackson, Mississippi. The womenfolk involved (wives, sisters, girlfriends) are thought to rent decoy cars for the men who stand around in parking lots waiting for people to scam.
Parking lot iPad switcheroos first made news back in September when a woman who confronted a couple who sold her the fake merch said she was run over by the thieves.
Because people want Apple’s tablet device more than world peace, police expect iPad scam to intensify leading up to the holidays.