Armed robberies have become so common in Mexico City that people are actually purchasing fake smartphones to hand over to the criminals. Why? Because these trigger-happy thugs would shoot them instead of leaving empty-handed. There has been an average of 70 violent reported muggings in the Mexican capital during the first four months of 2019. Mind you; these are the reported muggings; there are many that have gone unreported.
Pedestrians, public transportation passengers, and even motorists waiting at traffic lights are the victim of such muggings. These crimes have escalated so much that Mexican people are buying fake smartphones to give up to muggers instead of the real ones. The fake smartphones cost around $15 and $25. They are perfect replicas of the originals and have the same design and branding. They even have a display that is the same as the startup screen. They house a large metal piece inside to impart the weight of a real smartphone.
Axel is a fake smartphone seller and said, ‘It’s useful for robberies, a large number of muggings happening in Mexico City. They say ‘hand over your cellphone, give me everything’, and people know now they have to hand over the phone quick, in a matter of seconds, so they hand over these phones and often the thieves don’t realize it.’
Axel said that all of his customers know that they are purchasing fake smartphones. The basic idea is to give the fake smartphone to the mugger and walk away with the actual smartphone and their life. However, handing a fake over to the mugger is not entirely risk-free. For instance, if the mugger realizes that a fake smartphone is being handed over; the probability of getting hurt or even killed increases many folds. To prevent such a situation, some Mexicans actually buy a cheaper smartphone that they hand over to the mugger.
It makes sense because the smartphones have bank account details and personal data as well. Losing a smartphone these days is like actually giving up everything and no wonder Mexicans are using fake smartphones and cheaper smartphones to avoid such a situation.