Pair faces 20 years in jail over iPhone fraud scheme


Fake iPhone fraud scheme
Take note: Trying to trade in 5,000 fake iPhones for real ones might not work.
Photo: Photo: Donald Tong/Pexels CC

A federal jury found two Chinese men living in Maryland guilty Tuesday in a fake iPhone fraud scheme. They attempted to defraud Apple in a $3 million scheme to replace fake iPhones with real ones, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.

Haotian Sun and Pengfei Xue’s mail fraud convictions carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Apple rejected nearly 1.7 million App Store submissions in 2022


Apple rejected nearly 1.7 million Apple Store submissions in 2022
It's up to Apple's App Review team to prevent malware from sneaking onto its software store.
Graphic: Apple

Keeping bad applications out of the App Store is a monumental task — Apple says it denied 1.7 million apps submitted for approval in 2022. That’s out of 6.1 million, and it’s an increase from the previous year.

And Apple also blocked nearly 3.9 million stolen credit cards from being used to make fraudulent purchases on the App Store. Plus, the iPhone-maker blocked millions of fake reviews.

App Store blocks billions in attempted fraud


App Store blocks billions in attempted fraud
Apple cracks down on App Store fraud wherever it can find it.
Graphic: Apple

The App Store protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020, Apple said Tuesday. And the company’s App Review team rejected thousands of fraudulent applications.

The timing for this statement from the iPhone-maker isn’t accidental. In the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit, the game developer argues that the App Store is a hinderance to innovation. Cupertino wants customers to hear its side of the story, too.

Apple makes Safari’s Fraudulent Website Warning even more secure


Safari Fraudulent Website Warning is an optional feature.
Safari’s anti-phishing tool is about to get even more secure.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Fraudulent Website Warning system built into Safari in the upcoming iOS 14.5 reportedly takes an additional step to protect your identity. Apple licenses the scam-prevention service from Google, and going forward will block that company from knowing users’ IP addresses through the use of a proxy server.

Protect yourself from online scammers the easy way


To avoid online scams, try common sense and useful technology like Dashlane.
To avoid online scams, try common sense (and useful technology like Dashlane).
Photo: Richard Patterson/Comparitech CC

This online security post is presented by Dashlane.

Remember the “Nigerian prince” who famously emailed financial requests far and wide more than a decade ago? It was a variant of the advance-fee scam, aka The Spanish Prisoner scam. Even just last year, Americans lost $700,000 to such schemes, according to security firm ADT. And it all comes to mind again with recent news of outlandish online scams originating from the same country. But how do these people manage to keep getting away with people’s money, information and identities? It makes you wonder how to protect yourself from online scammers.

Fraudsters steal whopping $19 million worth of iPhones


Fraudster steals $16k from victim posing as Apple tech support
A wide-ranging criminal enterprise devoted to stealing new iPhones has been broken up by police.
Photo: Donald Tong/Pexels CC

Criminals allegedly used identity theft to steal thousands of iPhones from across the United States over several years. Their scheme involved assuming stolen identities and going to stores run by wireless carriers to pose as customers looking for upgrades to new models.

Michigan man pleads guilty to scam that cost Apple $1 million


iPhone XS box gold
Bag yours before they're all gone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A Michigan man this week pleaded guilty to running an “empty-box” fraud scheme that cost Apple more than $1 million.

Van-Seyla Mork filed complaints on behalf of Apple customers, alleging that purchased products had not been received. After obtaining refunds, he transferred the money through various bank accounts in an effort to conceal the fraudulent proceeds.

Inside Apple’s billion-dollar war on repair fraud


Cult of Mac's buyback program pays good money for your gear, even broken ones.
Chinese iPhone fraud involved removing components from devices then deliberately breaking them so Apple would replace the handset.
Photo: Warren R.M. Stuart/Flickr CC

Fraudulent iPhone repair claims are big business in China. To the point where about 60 percent of the handsets being repaired under warranty in that country were part of scams.

Apple has had to make draconian efforts to even slow the rate at which Chinese criminal gangs are stealing from it.

Invisible ads could be crippling your smartphone


Some of the apps available on Apple Watch.
Thousands of apps on iOS and Android run invisible ads you didn't know about.
Photo: Apple

“What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is a common phrase that unfortunately does not apply to the apps on your phone. It turns out that thousands of apps on Android and iOS secretly have ads in them that you can’t see, and they very well might be what’s causing a number of problems that plague smartphones today.

Policeman Reports Son For Fraud Over $5,620 iTunes Bill



Stories about kids who gain access to their parents’ iTunes passwords and run up huge bills on apps and in-app purchases are becoming all too common. The latest, concerning 13-year-old Cameron Crossan from the U.K., has an interesting twist.

When Cameron ran up a £3,700 ($5,620) iTunes bill playing iPad games, his father, policeman Doug Crossan, called Apple to get a refund. Apple refused to give the Crossans their money back, so Doug went down a different route. He reported his son for fraud.

Former Apple Manager Pleads Guilty In Kickback Scheme



Former Apple manager Paul Devine pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose on Monday to a massive kickback scheme involving Apple’s supply chain.

Devine will forfeit $2.25 million in proceeds and property, the U.S. Attorney said.

Devine provided suppliers with details of Apple’s product roadmap and pricing targets in exchange for hefty kickbacks. When he was busted, feds found about $150,000 in shoeboxes under his bed and more money in foreign accounts and safe deposit boxes.

Devine originally pleaded not-guilty but later agreed to protect Apple’s trade secrets if the case came to court. That move was seen as a way to get a favorable plea bargain. Devine had faced 23 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He plead guilty to one count of each statutory violation.

He awaits sentencing on June 6. He could face up to 20 years in jail, the U.S Attorney said.

Full press release below: