Two students in the state of Oregon have been caught defrauding Apple using fake iPhones.

According to a report from The Guardian, two Chinese citizens living in Oregon, Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang, were sent fake iPhones from China. The pair would then send the fake phones to Apple claiming they were faulty and requesting a repair.

Now, obviously Apple would be able to spot a fake iPhone, especially when its dealing with repairs.

Nope, the pair reportedly sent 3 069 repair requests between April 2017 and March 2018 and received 1 493 legitimate iPhones in return. The other phones were returned to the pair because Apple believed they were tampered with, voiding the warranty.

Prosecutors say that the pair would then send the legitimate iPhones back to China to be sold by Jiang’s mother who then wired the profits of the sale back to Jiang in the US.

So if Apple didn’t spot the fakes, how did the Zhou and Jiang get caught? An affidavit written by a homeland security agent states that Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment containing 95 fake iPhones destined for the pair.

Following a search of their home, authorities found an additional 300 fake devices as well as incriminating paperwork.

While what Zhou and Jiang did was clearly illegal we have to point out the fact that Apple was sent fake iPhones and didn’t notice that they were fake. Perhaps this says more about Apple’s staff than it does Apple but perhaps the firm shouldn’t be fighting the right to repair in the US as hard as it is if it’s technicians can’t tell a fake iPhone, from a real one.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.