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18 Jun 2017

Delhi Police nabs illegal racket selling old iPhones as new

Is your brand new iPhone old and stolen?

Four persons were arrested by Delhi Police Crime Branch for passing off old iPhones as new to unsuspecting customers.

The suspects were able to do this after changing the old phones' motherboards and IMEI numbers, effectively covering their tracks and are even said to have fooled Apple service centers.

The police is also reported to have seized 18 iPads and 409 iPhones.

In context

Is your brand new iPhone old and stolen?

What is an IMEI number?

IMEI is short for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It is a unique 15-digit number that helps understand information including model type, manufacturer and country of origin.

What transpired?


What transpired?

The police acted on a tip that pointed them towards an illegal iPhone workshop at Mal Colony, located in North Delhi's Filmistan area, following which the Crime Branch had carefully been monitoring inputs on stolen mobile phones with changed IMEI numbers.

Along with nabbing a suspect who was found assembling an iPhone the police also seized a bag containing 12 models of iPhones.

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China connections

The accused used the WeChat app to obtain IMEIs from old phones under warranty from China, which is said to have a thriving market for the same. The old motherboards were further taken to China to destroy the evidence.


How were the phones tampered with?

The culprits worked on stolen phones as well as phones which were exchanged for new phones from Apple iPhone centres, obtained with the connivance of the staff.

Motherboards and SIM trays in these phones nicknamed 'flight', were then burned to destroy evidence.

These phones were then reassembled with Chinese-imported motherboards and SIM Trays, with a brand new laser embossed IMEI number, still under warranty.

Marketed as brand new products

The re-assembled old iPhones were packed in fake boxes, along with a sticker containing the new IMEI number produced at the workshop, and top notch accessories. These phones were then sold through Apple iPhone store, in Gaffar market, Karol Bagh and online without bills.

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