ROSELLE PARK, NJ - Roselle Park detectives arrested a local man for an iPhone scam on Tuesday February after an investigation found that Patrick M. Roberson, age 47, from Roselle Park was identified as the person who had scammed a Newark man by claiming that he had a “New Unlocked 128G Gold iPhone 6plus” for sale on Craigslist.
The victim, coming from Newark, met Roberson at the Roselle Park Train Station and paid $700 cash to Roberson for what was advertised as a “guaranteed” to work new iPhone and received a plastic sealed box that contained a counterfeit, non-working iPhone 6plus, non-working charger, cable and headphones.
The iPhone was a very accurate "dummy" phone. The phone, accessories, box and even the packaging were very detailed replicas with a serial number and IMEI number displayed on the box. Only upon plugging in the iPhone, trying to power it up and close inspection and comparison to an authentic iPhone does it become obvious that the phone was a counterfeit, manufactured for the purpose of scamming unassuming victims.
Detectives made contact through the same Craigslist advertisement that the victim had used to purchase the iPhone from Roberson, who was found to be in possession of two more sealed boxes that purported to be iPhone 6pluses. The serial numbers and IMEI numbers were identical to the phone purchased by the victim the previous day. Upon questioning, Roberson admitted purchasing the three phones from a website based in China for $200.
Roberson was charged with Theft by Deception a Crime of the third degree and released with Superior Court date of February 18, 2015.
Residents are warned against purchasing high end items from unknown parties through the Internet. Most high demand items that are sold on the internet and purport to be “new” at well below retail prices are usually counterfeit, frauds or may be a set up for a more sinister crime. You should be especially cautious from sites or sellers that demand CASH ONLY or require personal meetings in order to exchange high amounts of CASH. Any seller that is not easily traceable or does not allow an acceptable form of a traceable payment method is likely a fraud. These tell-tale signs that Roberson utilized were indicative of a possible scam.
- CASH ONLY PAYMENT.
- HIGH DEMAND / HIGH VALUE ITEM AT BELOW RETAIL.
- NO TEXTING. Phone calls only (usually an indication of a burner phone number or temporary google voice number) Also indicates the seller does not want documentation of their claims of authenticity.
- WILL ONLY MEET IN PERSON FOR EXCHANGE OF CASH. (usually locations that they can mix in with a crowd or escape after the exchange quickly.
- NOT A REGISTERED SELLER WITH VISIBLE REVIEWS ON A COMMON SALES SITE. (ie. ebay / Amazon)
Roselle Park Police gave this advisory, “A search of the internet by our detectives found numerous “Dummy” iPhones sold for under $20.00 that claim to look authentic but clearly state they are non-working. Most are sold by or shipped from China. We also found many advertisements selling sealed box iPhones for well below retail. Consumers should be cautious and prevent from becoming victims of these scams.”
Chief Paul W. Morrison advises residents to contact police if they have been victimized with any similar scams.