SCAM Alert: Cellphone Swap Modus

Just this weekend, an unbelievably ingenious scam was revealed to me by my co-worker whose brother in law to be had been duped with. Let this be a warning to the commuters who may encounter similar situations.

The target is specific to mobile phones, the modus is the introduction to the possibility of an upgrade from you’re currently using to one of the high end touchscreen phones available in the market.


From what I can compose of the story that has been relayed to me, the assailant comes up to the victim offering a trade: the phone the victim is currently holding against say an SE Xperia X10 plus a little bit of cash say 200. Not a bad deal right? It could be any phone the victim might be using, lets use a Samsung Galaxy 5 for theoretical example.

Suffice it to say, an SG5 + 200Php for an X10 is a very good deal.
Part 1. The victim is made to believe that he is getting a good deal, this even extends to the assailant letting the victim try out the X10 which makes it all the more enticing.
Part 2. Once the victim is hooked into swapping the device, the assailants phone suddenly turns off and he proceeds to tell the victim that the battery had died and that its a simple matter of charging it, the phone, when the victim gets home.
Part 3. It is sometime within this last step that the phone that the victim had tested prior to the exchange gets swapped for one of those dummy phones that you can see in retail establishments.
Part 4. Once the exchange has been settled, the assailant, with your phone, gets off the next stop and takes a cab or whatever else to get far away.
Part 5. It ends with the victim taking home a paperweight: a totally useless plastic replica with the form of the ‘promised’ device.

This scam apparently even extends to greater yield for the assailant if you are with someone during the ordeal. An even better deal, possibly a tablet, is presented in exchange for both you and your companions’ phone plus more cash. Truly, with the minutest hypnotic suggestion combined with a sense of excitement and urgency can lead to very bad decision making.

As the adage suggests: if it’s too good to be true, then it most probably is!

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