Have you ever come across a website purporting to offer the much coveted iPhone 6S for only £1? These scammy offers that appear to be too good to be true are becoming more prevalent on the Internet.
They can appear as ads, as pop-ups or webpages served up by links on spammy emails or social media messages. You click through and are presented with a webpage – that often looks like a news story – claiming that Apple are offering their latest iPhone for only £1. For example this webpage below with the headline Is Apple getting desperate? They’re selling the iPhone 6S for £1 in Britain (note that this is because we’re in Britain, US visitors, for example, would get directed to a story about the US)
On the page, the reader is told that Apple is practically giving their latest iPhone away, for the miniscule amount of only £1. A deal not to be missed, that’s for sure. If everything is as it seems that is. Which of course it isn’t.
In fact the entire thing is a testament to one of the most famous adages when it comes to avoiding being scammed, if it appears too good to be true, it probably is.
In this instance, clicking through the link to claim the iPhone 6S takes you to a webpage called FunkyClock.com, a site that asks you for your contact information and with some hefty small print at the bottom of the page.
And after reading through the small print you’ll soon realise that the reality of the offer is somewhat different to the original claim of Apple giving away iPhones for only a quid.
Firstly, the website has nothing to do with Apple whatsoever, nor is it affiliated with them. Secondly, you’re not paying £1 to get an iPhone, you’re paying it to enter a competition to win an iPhone as well as starting your trial subscription to Funky Clock’s service that will duly (and automatically) charge you £74 every month (if you don’t cancel within a few days) for the chance to enter even more competitions, or what they call “skill games”.
That deal isn’t looking so hot now,right?
Sites like FunkyClock pay affiliates to refer customers to them, and many of those affiliates use some pretty dodgy techniques to lure visitors, such as those who set up webpages designed to look like news webpages reporting on Apple “giving away” iPhone’s for hardly any money at all.
These scams are extremely popular on the Internet. They lure victims in with “too good to be true” offers that act as bait. Once you click through you’re asked to create subscriptions with sites that simply do not match the headline that lured you in. It’s a classic bait and switch. These scams are certainly not limited to the iPhone 6S, but any number of other products.
So to repeat – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
And watch out for these ads that appear on otherwise legitimate websites (like ours.) Sadly these adverts often get approved by advertising platforms (which we’ve launched complaints about) that allows them to be placed on the websites that use those platforms. But now you know what to look out for!