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Beware of fake Mac sales!

Published May 11th, 2013 at 9:01 AM EDT , modified May 11th, 2013 at 9:01 AM EDT

I have seen a number of complaints on the Apple Support Communities forums lately about fake Macs being sold online. Thus far, every complaint has centered around a 17″ retina MacBook Pro, sold for pretty exorbitant prices ($5,000 in the most recent case). In all cases that I have seen, folks have ended up coming to the ASC to complain that the machine has not arrived yet.

The first red flag here is that there is no 17″ MacBook Pro with a retina display. The 17″ models were discontinued, and never had a retina display. Once or twice, I would be willing to simply attribute this to a seller who was unfamiliar with terminology. However, couple more than one or two cases with the fact that these machines never seem to arrive and you see that someone is scamming folks. I’m not sure why they’re choosing a non-existent machine to scam people with, though. Perhaps because the folks who don’t know better may be easier to scam?

The second red flag is the price, which is generally extremely high. Far more, in fact, than any currently-shipping Apple product actually costs, much less a used machine. I really don’t understand this one. I’m not sure why anyone would pay so much for such a machine. Do people really believe that Macs cost that much?!

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 8.27.37 AMIt’s unclear why folks have ended up in Apple’s forums to complain about the issue. I have only gotten information about the seller from one person so far, and he “purchased” one of these non-existent machines from someone on Gumtree, a UK-based site similar to CraigsList. It seems obvious to me that this is not a purchase that Apple would be involved in, so I’m not sure why the complaint was made on Apple’s support site. It’s always possible that others are being scammed by an Apple Store look-alike site, though I have no evidence to support that theory.

In any case, as with all online purchases, be sure you are buying your Mac from a reputable source. If you want a brand new Mac, don’t go anywhere other than straight to Apple’s online store. Be sure that it is actually Apple’s store, by going to and navigating to the store from there. If you find a special deal on some other site, do extensive research on that site and make sure that it’s legit before buying. Don’t be tricked into buying too quickly by a “limited time offer!”

If you are looking for a used machine, be sure to use a reputable site that protects their users. Be aware that sites like CraigsList and Gumtree provide absolutely no buyer protection… if you get scammed through their site, you will need to manage that problem yourself. In such a case, contact your credit card company as soon as you suspect that you have fallen victim to a scam. When dealing with sites that don’t provide buyer protection, meeting the seller face-to-face in a public place is the best bet. Don’t trust the seller to ship the machine to you, and don’t meet at the seller’s house or give the seller your home address.

Be sure to always think carefully about any major online purchase, and do your homework before clicking that “Buy” button! It’s always better to avoid becoming a victim than trying to recover from being victimized.

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  • Someone says:

    Craigslist isn’t only a problem when buying stuff. Selling stuff on Craigslist is a pain, too. The “fake check scam” is common when selling – a “buyer” will claim that he/she sent a check for too much and asks that you send back the difference, but the check is bogus, and not only did you lose the money, but you may have lost the merchandise as well. Words of wisdom: emails like this are usually fake, but if you’re unsure, look up the name of the person with the word “scam.”

  • aalien says:

    Well, I always like to buy what I see and what I touch…

    I would never buy anything such this via online and receive it by mail. The proper buy it’s going to a retail store, see it, touch it, pay cash and have it straight away. Bam it’s your and you earn it!!!

    I don’t understand some situations neither some attitudes from both people and companies.

  • aalien says:

    The only thing I buy online are downloads from samples and software. Nothing physic like a $5,000 MACBOOK !!!!!!!!

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