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Cheap iPads sold on Craigslist to lure buyers into parking lots to be robbed

Cheap iPads are being listed on Craigslist with a view to lure potential buyers to quiet car parks where they’re being robbed, sometimes at gun point. The latest scam comes from Uniontown, Fayette County and WTAE has the full story.

Police said two people who tried to buy iPads listed for sale on Craigslist were robbed in Uniontown, Fayette County. In each case, an iPad was being offered at a low price, and the interested buyers were lured for an in-person meeting. "However, when they arrived in Uniontown, they were instead met by armed men who, at that point, robbed them," Police Chief Jason Cox said. The incidents happened on Dunlap and Hickle streets.Police told Channel 4 Action News investigator Paul Van Osdol that each victim was robbed of several hundred dollars. One was forced at gunpoint to withdraw money from an ATM. "The victims were pretty shaken up, and it was very clear they were totally unaware of what they were walking into," Cox said.

These types of scams appear to be happening all over the U.S. and all over the world too; we have heard reports of similar types of scams, not that long ago in the UK. That particular scam involved iPhone and iPads in sealed boxes which when opened were filled with water bottles or potatoes.

Deals like these are always a tempting way to grab yourself an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch at a knock down price but you must use a bit of common sense; if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true so stay well away. If you can’t pass up on a deal, make sure you at least arrange to meet any potential sellers in a very public place, not in a car lot, late at night.

Have you bought any Apple products through Craigslist or eBay? What advice would you offer to buyers so they can remain safe during a buying meet up?

Source: WTAE

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

40 Comments
  • Always meet in a store- for example when I sold my iphone I had them meet me at the nearest verizon store- that way he was able to get it activated and knew it worked.
  • Excellent idea!!!! I was going to suggest any public place.
  • Also you can meet in well populated areas like if you live in NYC 42nd street or 34th street even 59th just think big open areas
  • If you are ever forced to enter a pin - enter it BACKWARDS. You will still get the cash. This alerts the authorities that a crime is in progress, tells your bank the withdrawal is under duress and summons the police to your location. This is one of several worldwide standard measures designed to prevent crime at ATMs. Admittedly, this is NOT easy to trust at gunpoint. Thanks to iMore for making this issue public.
  • Entering your PIN backwards does none of that. Nor does it work. That is a rumor that has been going around since 2006.
  • It's in use in very few ATMs around the world. It was a hoax that every ATM was using it.
  • I agree! Because what if your PIN number is 4224????? It's the same backwards!!!!!!!
  • Really!!!??? What if your PIN number is 4224???? Duhhhhhhhh!!!
  • You really have to be careful out there. Meeting them in a carrier store is a good idea. Otherwise sticking to eBay or buying refurbished from Apple. You could even mention meeting the seller at a police station to complete the sale. If they balk at that walk away.
  • If I'm carrying that much cash around, I meet in a public place, take a friend, and carry a hand gun. I have a carry permit, so no laws are broken where I live.
  • Yea, whenever I sell things on Craigslist, I have never bought, I have a specific procedure. I bring someone with me in a separate car and they will view the transaction from abroad. And I either go to a very public place like a mall or restaurant or one time I went to a parking lot during the day of a place I used to work. But my advice is, always bring someone else.
  • I tried buying a iPad from a dude on CL and everything was fine until I said I was bringing a friend with me because I didn't have a car. The dude quickly said .....OKAY THEN...CALL ME LATER TO ARRANGE A TIME. I did call him later....the number was legit but his own (voice) message came and told me to leave a message. I even emailed him back a few times and he NEVER returned any calls or answered my emails. I think I scared him off when I said I was bringing a friend!!
  • how do you enter a pin like 2222 or 0220 backwards? Heard it was a hoax too.
  • Helllllllloooooo! LOL! It is a hoax
  • 1
  • How do you look someone up in the sheriff's department database? Is that a privilege given to a chosen few or available to the public? Last question do you live in a town or rural area?
  • My Sheriff department allows for an inmate search...shows if someone has ever been arrested, and for what!
  • I live in Central Florida...rural, but a city none the less...
  • I love how this was somewhat ambiguously tagged with "Uniontown, Fayette County." I had a good laugh, cause I recognized the town, and WTAE news station. Reading it like that sounds as though it could be somewhere in Great Britain, Mr. Oldroyd, lol. It is a very rural region outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
  • I tried to sell my Ipad on Craigslist and the buyer wanted to meet in a quiet dark parking lot. When I refused they cancelled the deal. The next buyer agreed to me in a public area but only at night. Once we met the buyer handed me over the $500 but before I gave them the ipad I counted the money and noticed that the money was fake. I guess I got lucky. Even with the low light I could tell and see that the money was counterfeit. I told the buyer and he just took the money and walked away. I ended up selling it on Ebay.
  • You are LUCKY you walked away with your life!
  • *Tried
  • If anyone sees one of these adds in Oregon please PM me.. I would LOVE to have a van full of me and my boys, armed to the teeth, roll up on these azz clowns....
    Meet in public,
    tell people where you are going before you go,
    meet in a very public place,
    change the meeting place right before you arrive (meeting at 1030AM call at 1025AM and suggest a place close to original place so you can see them coming from the original place)
    ask for the MEID number before you meet, get a cell phone number and call the seller before you move forward....
    Stay alert, stay alive.... RECON!
  • I know others have said the same or similar things, but I will reiterate them to drive the point home: 1. Always meet in a public place with lots of people such as mall food court or fast food restaurant. If possible, you may want to consider bringing someone with you. 2. If the deal is too good to be true, it is. Who in their right mind would sell an iPad for $100 or something similar? People sell things to get money, not give things away. 3. When buying an iPhone, bring your SIM card if you use GSM and make sure you can try the phone before making the deal. If you use CDMA, make the deal at a carrier store so you can get the phone activated while the seller is present. 4. Before meeting with anyone from Craigslist, talk to them on the phone rather than just email or text messages. I met with someone who refused to call me and it turned out to be a scam. I didn't get robbed, but someone else did the same day. At the end of the day, if you have a bad feeling about something, trust your gut and don't go through with it. No item or any amount of money is not worth risking your well being.
  • What does hearing their voice on the phone have to do with safety?
  • Sadly, this will keep happening all over the world, till people wisen up. It's good this is hitting the media just so that more people can be forewarned. Need to factory unlock your iPhone? http://www.attiphoneunlock.com : Lowest Price, Quickest Service!
  • "Meet me in front of the police station or the deal is off."
  • Set up snipers around the private parking lot about an hour or two prior to meeting with these sellers.
  • eBay is the best way to go -- the buyer enters their own shipping label info and all the seller has to do is mail it off. There are also financial protections in place for both the buyer and seller. No fuss, no guns...
  • Call me old fashioned, but I have never even considered doing a large cash transaction with a stranger. Paying an extra $20 for something on ebay seems like a no brainer. Driving to some out of the way place to get a cheap deal lost the appeal as soon as I learned how to put a price on my time.
  • If you're that dumb to meet some stranger for a cash transaction in an empty parking lot, you deserve to get robbed.
  • This really sucks, and people's opinions about using ebay only is even worse...I've used craigslist multiple times and there are many advantages to using craigslist over ebay (fees, shipping, seeing/feeling product, etc...) Scammers and crappy people really have made this awesome service go to crap... Anyways its a bit obvious and many have shared great ideas here to be even safer. Just think smart before running out with a lot of money and meeting a stranger...
  • I have made several Craigslist purchases for iDevices and other electronics. 1. Always meet in a well traveled area such as a shopping mall, a public library etc.
    2. When purchasing an iDevice always purchase stock devices only. You can always jail break on your own dime or for free later on.
    3. If you not buying from a store front, always ask to see and operate the device. Anyone can shrink wrap a box.
    4. Last and most important...If it's sound too good to be true then listen to your instincts and call it off.
  • One time I was selling an iPhone and I asked the guy to meet me in my lobby of my high ride condo where the concierge was sitting. He said no because it was too cold and told me to meet him at his car or no deal. Now I live in a safe area and meeting by their car is usually no issue. But who's to say he can grab my phone to take a look and then drive off?! I usually have no issues selling on craigslist. You just have to be careful when a sketchy situation comes up like this one and pass on it.
  • I hate to rub salt in the wound after you have been iSpanked by so many others, but sheesh! Always insist on a very public busy place...like Starbucks, and always bring a friend, whether you are a buyer or a seller that made contact on Craigslist. I have successfully sold three iPhones to contacts I have made there. I always talk to them on the phone first, then suggest that we meet at a public place "like a coffee shop or fast food place" and let them pick the final location with those restrictions. Kind like the "you cut, your brother chooses the first slice" method mom used when divvying up the last chunk of cake. You both get input on the location and BOTH feel a modicum of safety.
  • I got lucky last week when I got the New iPad 16gb Wifi with box all accessories receipt and also the Griffin Survivor case for $375.
  • I always ask people to meet at the post office...
  • Last year when I sold my ip4 I originally put it on Craigslist and got many offers to pay me way more then I was asking I just had to give them my PayPal info. It just screamed scam to me. So I then sold it on eBay, first try eBay took it down cause in my listing I listed the iOS version and they claimed I wasn't allowed to sell software. So I listed again and it sold but the fees were way more then what I understood them to be, and not all of them occurred at the time of sale. Very frustrating. I think I will just stick with selling to friends.
  • This has been happening a lot these days, weather ipods, iphones or other smartphones. Sometimes this can be really frustrating. Anyways some people here are looking for factory iphone unlocks so i would like to suggest you this site- http://www.getiphoneunlocknow.com , i have tested them myself and got my iphone unlocked :)
  • BUY IT USED!!!! http://OldAppleStore.com