Counterfeit electronics scam

In many cities around the world, counterfeit luxury brand merchandise is sold on the streets to unsuspecting tourists looking for a great deal. Perfumes, jeans, cigarettes and similar goods are the most popular items to reproduce cheaply and are easily sold by street vendors.

Budapest-scam-counterfeit-smartphonesBut in Budapest, a new trend has arisen: fake iPhone’s and similar high-end electronic devices. They may look genuine at first glance, from the basic operation of the phone when the street vendor shows it to the box it comes in, including the headset and charger, but as always: if the price seems too cheap to be true, walk away. If you pay close attention to the short demonstration the scammer will give you, you will see that the operation is somewhat similar to the original iPhone, but also slightly different in some aspects. Also, some of the graphics and icons are slightly different than the original. The phone will react slower to user input, and one of the easiest checks: if the battery is replaceable, it’s not a real iPhone.

Instead, they are cheap Chinese knock-offs that can barely be used to make calls, have no wireless internet connectivity except maybe for WiFi, and of course won’t work with iTunes or other Apple apps. They are basically useless, but you won’t find out until the swindler is long gone. And even if they are selling you a genuine iPhone, it’s guaranteed stolen and you could get into trouble with the police if you’ve bought it.

Budapest-scam-fake-iphoneSome of these scammers will tell you they won it in a contest and don’t need it, others will say they just bought it but need the money to pay for surgery of their child (getting pity from someone is a great way to scam them easily) or some other lie to explain why they are selling a popular phone for half of the official price at the Apple Store.

At the moment, iPhone’s are the most popular merchandise on the streets of Budapest, but anything else that’s offered by street vendors at a price that’s too low to be true is either counterfeit or stolen.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Budapest and Hungary Tourist Scams Forum.

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