UPDATE: Fall River family feeling scammed after iPhone trade
Staff Sgt. Bill Morris with the Halifax Regional Police tells Global News that police have recovered Adam’s iPhone and headphones and returned them to the teen.
Police have also identified two suspects.
Morris says the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made.
HALIFAX – A Fall River family is fuming after they traded for an iPhone off the buy-and-sell website Kijiji only to find out later the phone was stolen.
Adam Stoodley, 13, often trades on Kijiji to get new iPhones, laptops and gaming systems like the XBox.
When he saw a posting for a gold-plated iPhone 5S, the Fall River teen knew he wanted to trade for it.
“Not a lot of people have it,” he said. “It’s really hard to come by. I really wanted it.”
After a several dozen emails with the seller, the 13-year-old and his mother met him and another young man at a McDonalds in Dartmouth on Tuesday.
Adam, quite experienced in buying and selling from websites, checked the buttons of the phone and noted the screen was in good condition. He then traded his iPhone 5, a pair of headphones and some cash for the newer model phone.
“Everything went good pretty much,” he said.
It was only later that day when he put his SIM card in the phone that it said it did not have any service.
Adam then took the phone to a cell phone store and got quite the shock.
“We went and tried to activate it and found out it was stolen. I was upset I lost my two big items and I was scared I wasn’t going to get them back.”
“Someone has bought an iPhone on Kijiji and it was later found to be stolen when they tried to activate it,” said Cst. Pierre Bourdages with Halifax Regional Police.
Adam’s mother Kim is fuming someone would scam a child.
“I was angry. You go into these Kijiji deals with the understanding it’s buyer beware and you may get burned,” she said.
“This guy looked at Adam, saw it was a kid and at that point he could have looked at the phone and said ‘You know what, I don’t think this is the phone for me’. But he carried on and scammed a kid.”
Adam, feeling upset about being scammed, wrote a post on Kijiji about his experience. It has racked up more than 44,000 views and the teen has received hundreds of messages of support.
The outpouring of community support has overwhelmed his mother.
“This has completely blown by mind, the fallout of what’s happened. The things that’s really gotten me in all of this is the outpouring of support and kindness and the people who just want to help,” she said.
Though many have offered to give them money so Adam can get the iPhone 5S, the family isn’t accepting donations; Adam said he just wants to return the stolen iPhone to its rightful owner.
In retrospect, the teen said it seemed suspicious the seller did not have a charger for the iPhone, did not have the box for the phone, did not ask many questions and quickly accepted the traded goods.
The family said they still plan to use Kijiji in the future but they will be a bit more cautious.
“You take your chances going into these [ transactions] and you know the risk going into it. It won’t stop us. We’ll just be a little more careful with the bigger ticket items.” Kim said.
Some tips on how to prevent yourself from getting scammed include doing a cell phone trade at a provider and using the website protectyourdata.ca, which checks the serial numbers of phones against a list of those reported as stolen.