Beware of Scams and Memorabilia Relating to Steve Jobs’ Passing

October 27, 2011
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning consumers about scams related to the passing of former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. Many of the scams claim that consumers are eligible to receive free Apple products.

Within hours of Jobs’ death, scammers began announcing that companies were giving away free Apple products 'in memory of Steve Jobs', and it’s just the beginning, warns BBB.

In a recent Facebook scam, the announcement read: “In memory of Steve, our company is giving away 50 iPads. R.I.P. Steve Jobs”. The ad instructed people to click on a link to get a free iPad. After clicking on the link, users were asked to complete an online survey that required personal information, an action that often leads to identity theft.

Scammers use fake product offers to get you to click on the links they contain for several purposes:

  • To infect your computer with malware in order to obtain your personal information to steal your identity.
  • To drive traffic to certain websites that pay the scammer a commission for every survey completed, every product purchased, and/or every account compromised.

“Past experience tells us that con artists will invent more Steve Jobs offers, including fraudulent memorabilia, phony autograph items and the like,” said BBB CEO Kim States. “Consumers should take every precaution before they fill out an entry form, click any links or charge their credit cards to honor Jobs.”

BBB offers this advice:

  • Do not click on links in emails, messages, wall posts or advertisements offering free products.
  • Do not complete online surveys that require giving financial or personal information including your name, birth date and home address.
  • Do not give your credit card number to pay “shipping fees” for “free”products.

If you’re interested in buying items to honor Steve Jobs’ legacy, BBB offers the following advice:

Do your Research. Collectors need to research the value of items before they begin purchasing them, especially if they want pieces with the potential for substantial appreciation in value. Think about whether you are buying it as an investment or a keepsake.

Confirm authenticity
. Autographs can be verified by a third party, but for other items, the collector should ask the seller questions, including how the seller came to own it. If the seller can’t answer simple questions, the collector should walk away.

Make purchases with a credit card. Consumers should always purchase items with a credit card when shopping online. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, the consumer can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.

Be Suspicious. If you’re purchasing items from an individual on eBay or Craigslist, research the seller’s track record by reading buyer reviews and never wire money as payment.

Don’t be fooled. Just because the seller claims the item is of limited edition, it doesn’t mean there weren’t millions made. If the item is being widely advertised, chances are it’s too common to actually gain much value over the years.