Vietnamese consumers fall for $10 AirPods scam

By Hoang Giang   January 16, 2024 | 03:09 pm PT
Vietnamese consumers fall for $10 AirPods scam
A pair of counterfeit AirPods and its packaging. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Giang
Vietnamese consumers, enticed by prices as low as VND250,000 (about $10), are being scammed with counterfeit AirPods, similar to genuine Apple products.

Le Thanh, a resident of Hanoi, became one such victim earlier this month. He purchased a pair of what she believed were AirPod Pros at only 5% of their official retail price of $169, through a Facebook ad.

The seller assured her of their authenticity, citing a 15-digit serial number that could ostensibly be verified online. However, Thanh later discovered that her purchase was indeed a counterfeit.

This recent influx of fake AirPods has been described by Nguyen Thanh Long, an administrator of a 100,000-member Facebook group for Apple enthusiasts, as the most sophisticated to date. He noted the difficulty in distinguishing these fakes from genuine products, pointing out their near-identical appearance and packaging. Even the serial numbers on the AirPods seem to correspond with those on the boxes.

"It is not easy to prove that the product is a counterfeit," he asserted.

These counterfeits not only replicate the design but also boast features akin to real AirPods, like wireless charging and Siri compatibility. "Previous fakes often skimped on features to cut costs, but these replicas have it all," Long said.

However, the illusion of authenticity fades upon closer inspection. Thanh realized the fraudulence of her AirPods when she experienced a hissing noise at maximum volume.

Similarly, Cong Hoan, another Hanoi resident, noticed inaccuracies in the control features of his purchase from an e-commerce platform.

Long underscored the poor sound quality and performance inconsistencies as common issues with these fakes. "Many members of my group have made complaints about the fake products."

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