back to article Dutch unlocked iPhone site takes €700,000 then goes offline

A Dutch online reseller who promised customers simlock-free iPhones has apparently gone missing, leaving coworkers bemused and hundreds of consumers a total of €700,000 in the hole. The owner of the website iPhonehelpdesk.nl has allegedly emptied his offices in Amsterdam and disappeared without a word to his colleagues. Like …

COMMENTS

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  1. Jamie Kephalas
    Coat

    Ouch!

    Hence the reason I buy direct! What kind of money back can those people get? Anyone know? Sounds like a big fat nothing.

    Mine's the one without the iPhone.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    ha ha

    Yet again the Jesus Phone shows how gullible the "Trend" followers are. Desperate to be on the latest tech bandwagon.

    Remember this. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

    Mines the one emptying your wallet :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Old Adage...

    If it seems too good to be true...

    Paris 'cos she'd probably be dumb enough to fall for this.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    :-D

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

    Where's webster when you need him??

    Sorry, but if you're dumb enough to buy a Jebus phone in the first place, you're dumb... but to actually deal with some random site deliberately trying to sell a dodgily 'hacked' item, you deserve to be parted with your beer tokens post haste!!

    Jobs.... laughing all the way to the bank.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Bolshoi Spasiba Djedka, Aa? :D

    No Doubt now living it up on the Russian Riviera...

    nice one Boris ;p

    Paris... cos even she knows how to take precautions and to party hard ;p

  6. iannufc
    Flame

    Now that is dumb

    It's iPhone users who are desperate enough to try a site like this who give the rest of us a bad name. Now THAT is someone who is a slave to all things Apple.

    I'm not. I bought an iPhone for 4 reasons:

    1. I could afford one.

    2. It does everything I need brilliantly.

    3. Cos it's quite obviously better than the phones owned by all these iPhone haters, otherwise they wouldn't be bitching so much. ;)

    4. I am an O2 customer anyway, and couldn't give a monkey's chuff if the phone is locked or not.

    I wouldn't rely on quite obviously dodgy websites like that though. I feel sorry for all those affected by this scam, but I do think that they should have stopped and thought about possible implications before they purchased.

  7. dervheid
    Jobs Horns

    so many suckers...

    so little time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    "if you're dumb enough to buy a Jebus phone in the first place, you're dumb..."

    I develop games and apps for the iPhone - Colony & Squares (FREE) are currently on the App Store, and a third game is on its way. I've made enough money from them to pay for the iPhone and the 18-month contract. I have cash to spare, and we're only a month into the sales.

    Does that make me dumb?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical greedy ripoff cloggie...

    "According to his coworkers, Van Zanten ...... possibly simply panicked"

    No he didn't - if he's Dutch then he'll simply be driven solely by cash and knew exactly what he was doing.

    Money is the only thing the natives here in NL give a damn about (well that and bad service, unfriendliness, acting like 3 year olds, a Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality, etc etc).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Illegal

    mmmm..... unlocked iPhones, these people knew that this wasn't right, not exactly illegal but dodgy nontheless. Why then, when they get stung, do they complain?

    Same as the greedy little people on the recieving end of the "pass you off as next of kin" 419ers, they know it's not right but greed gets them every time.

    Got to agree with AC @ 11:41, Hell slap it into them.

  11. Luke Wells

    Next 419 Scam

    Expect hundreds of spam e-mails a day now with too good to be true iPhone offers, now that the Nigerians know that potential iPhone customers are stupid enough to send money to anyone in order to get their hands on the most overpriced phone ever made

  12. Léon
    Happy

    Re: Typical greedy ripoff cloggie...

    On behalf of the Dutch that act nothing like you just described, i apologize for the horrible way you've obviously been treated all your life. That said, I'm sure that with a less than bitter attitude people will start treating you a whole lot better though. Give it a try, it could be just you that people are reacting to. To say that "the natives here in NL" are acting in a general way is kind of ignorant, if not a little childish.

  13. Scott

    HeHe

    Like people have said above :-

    A) If there dumb enough to buy a jebus phone

    B) they knew it was for a certain network only but they still paid up front for something they knew wasn't out there

    Then they got everything they deserved and before everyone jumps on me for saying the jebus phone is better than PH, if your stoopid enough to spend more on a glorified phone than a computer then you deserve to be PHed.

  14. Zmodem

    Jailbreak 3G

    might always show up 1day that unlocks the firmware

    http://www.jailbreakme.com/

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Typical greedy ripoff cloggie...

    hehe, come on, we know you're a Dutchie, just trying to put people off from coming to your super-lovely super-chilled country.

  16. J-Wick
    Happy

    "If you're dumb enough..."

    "Sorry, but if you're dumb enough to buy a Jebus phone in the first place, you're dumb... "

    Anonymous Coward is Anonnnnnnnnymous.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Good on them

    I'd do that if I could get away with it

  18. min

    love it!!!

    what a bunch of iTwits. and all for what? a box of sand? (oh, that is from an old western movie starring Yul Brynner. no prizes for guessing which)

    why anyone would pay up for a product that does not exist (at the time) is simply irrational beyond measure. good for him, and good for his dupes.

    i'll be the guy saving my pity for the guy who still uses a Nokia 3210. iPhone just aint worth it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoulda bought it in Belgium...

    Mobistar is forced by law to sell you an unlocked phone. It's not cheap but it is 20-25% cheaper than with a contract in the UK. It's the up-front payment that bites.

  20. Tim Russell
    Happy

    At dutchie haters..

    ...as a Brit living in the NL you can sometimes feel it's a bit like that. The main reason is that the average Dutch person is a lot more straight forward in conversations than us Brits. We have 50 ways of saying "I'm going to stick this knife in your back the moment you turn around" in British (as opposed to English which can sometimes be confused as meaning American), the Dutch would just say, "you turn around, I stick a knife in your back"!

    The other change I noticed is, if you live here learn the fugging language, it's not that difficult!

    Back to the story... SUCKERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

  21. Danny
    Paris Hilton

    hillarious

    serves my fellow countrymen and women right for falling for this obvious trick.

    what was that saying again? there's a fool born every second wasn't it?

  22. Marco Alfarrobinha
    Happy

    A fool and...

    ... its money are easily parted.

    /laughs so hard it hurts

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ scott

    "... A) If there dumb enough to buy a jebus phone..."

    woohoo - every one's a winner!

    another commenter who questions other people's intelligence, while spelling like a retard himself!

    clue: the word you're looking for is "they're"

  24. Kit Temple
    Go

    Understandable

    I think people are being too harsh against the buyers in this story.

    I often need to purchase things through the internet with my credit card, and I assume a certain level of protection against getting ripped off.

    For example, I bought £500 of bamboo from a website. Now all I had to go on were a bunch of pictures that some guy could have ripped off from some other website. Sometimes you need to assume they are telling the truth, rather than calling them up and asking them to bang the phone against the bamboo pots so you can hear that they are real.

    Just like I don't have the time or inclination to go out and research bamboo to death before I buy it (they could have made up the bamboo names and photoshopped the pictures for all I know), the same goes for people that fancy an iPhone but don't feel like researching the situation for countless hours.

    The businesses that accept credit cards understand that it isn't so easy to set up, there are some security measures in place. Lloyds inspected my business carefully before they allowed me to take credit cards, and when I was younger and wanted to set up a different website business my request to take credit cards was simply refused by all banks due to lack of track record. As you can see from this story, the police know exactly who did this - if it was so easy to rip people off then nobody would know who ran the website, or where the money had gone to.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Yet another iphone article....

    ...can't see the "sponsored by Apple" on the homepage....yet :p

  26. michael
    Unhappy

    Belgium iPhone?

    Is there anyone who actually own belgium iPhone? Do they work outside Belgium?

  27. Michael

    A fool and his money are soon parted...

    When you try to do dodgy stuff, the chances that the person you're dealing with is himself a dodgy individual increase dramatically. I have precisely zero sympathy for people that do dodgy stuff and get screwed in the end. When you gamble, you eventually lose.

  28. Keith Doyle
    Thumb Down

    Sombody saw 'em comin'

    You couldn't pay me to take an AT&T phone, so I understand the desire for a more open alternative, but a hacked iPhone is only marginally better-- still not worth paying for. The iPhone may be cool, but I don't wear my cool on my phone...

  29. Ivan Headache

    @Scott

    " if your stoopid enough to spend more on a glorified phone than a computer then you deserve to be PHed.:

    Sounds as though you're so technically advanced that you can differentiate between a glorified phone and a computer.

    Sent from my iPod touch (a glorified phone - but without the phone bit).

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jim Finn, RE: Ha Ha

    "Desperate to be on the latest tech bandwagon."

    So whats "latest tech" about the iPhone?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My, my, my

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it does seem that Limeys can be just as greedy and foolish as Americans.

    What a surprise.

    Now let the flaming begin.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, what are they gonna try next?

    cheese?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    and he didn't leave a forwarding number to his iphone?

    So Interpol are currently monitoring all the valid iphone connections registered in the netherlands being received on the russian network, can't be that many, his phone is bound to be still locked to the dutch network after all.

  34. David Barr
    Happy

    Dutch are not limeys

    As far as I'm aware it's us Brits that are the limeys, not our Dutch friends. I think it came from us eating limes to avoid scurvy, because nobody that grew oranges would sell them to us (I may be off there).

    As for who will foot the bill?

    I'm not sure what the payment method was, however I very much hope it was Paypal. And I very much hope Dutch authorities rule that Paypal are liable because they are providing the credit facility. Paypal are under the impression that if someone pays for something through Paypal using my credit card then they have no liability. It'd take a big case for a landmark ruling rather than the multitude of small cases which come from eBay.

    It's very unlikely that the guy had a credit card payment facility, but if he did then the credit card companies will have to fork out the cash.

    I do have a bit of sympathy for the poor punters, but at the end of the day they knew it wasn't a completely reliable way of getting a Jesus phone, so they shouldn't be too surprised.

  35. Zmodem

    £50m exclusive to a telecom

    is probaly a better earner for apple then selling them sim free from the day of relaase

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: My, my, my

    >Correct me if I'm wrong

    You're wrong and I'll go further, you're also ignorant. The article is about Cloggies not Limeys.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the Netherlands?

    I'm intrigued by the frequent appearance of the Netherlands in scams. You get a "lottery win" email - more often than not phone number and address is Dutch. Even the 419s appear to use the Netherlands often as a meeting spot. Anyone an idea why that is? Lack of identity checking?

    As for this scam being in the Netherlands, I think the answer to the above might give a clue. Whatever the idea was, "talent" like that will be snapped up by the Russian mafioso double quick, so I give this guy a couple of weeks before he'll be given the choice of collaborating with his new masters or enjoy slightly altered kneecaps or a face mod of his girlfriend.

  38. Zmodem

    90% of holland

    pick flowers from the reclaimed land for a day job, and its where most hacking attempts on the usa come from

  39. scotchbonnet
    Thumb Down

    @AC @12:13 GMT

    "I develop games and apps for the iPhone..."

    Way to get that free advert for your game in there mate - absolute stroke of genius. If the software gig goes south on you, I'm sure there's a future for you in the ads game specialising in product placements.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yet again the IPhone posers are shown to be nothing more than sheep being led around. If they were stupid enough to pay up front for something like this through an unknown supplier then they deserve to get done like a dogs dinner. Did they not think about how he was actually going to get these phones? He sure as hell would not be getting them from Apple.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Chris W

    Thanks for setting me right. Please understand that I have trouble telling you Euros apart: you all talk funny and smell bad.

    So from your message, its the Dutch that are greedy fools. I always did wonder about them tulip-pushers.

  42. Peter
    Coat

    To all you apple flamers

    @Scott & buddies

    Probably you always had to buy second best for all of your pity life, resulting in your -Yaaawwwnnn!- hilarious comments.

    People with real jobs have real money and can buy nice toys whenever they feel like. They really don't care what it costs, or what your analysis of the features per penny ratio is.

    If you don't like Apple or can't afford it, don't whine but buy your own other brand and be happy with your new toy.

    Those suckers that got ripped off tried to be as smart as you: Cheap.

    - Mine's the one with the shiny sim-locked iphone

  43. Dave
    Coat

    Van der Decken?

    A modern-day example of a flying (by night) Dutchman?

    Mine's the one made from sail canvas.

  44. tony trolle

    why

    I'm getting a cheap 'made in china' clone (a68.i68,a168,c168+) about 80 pounds I think; its140 USD.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 02:29

    >Thanks for setting me right

    You're welcome. Just one other thing.

    >Please understand that I have trouble telling you Euros apart: you all talk funny and smell bad.

    You're confusing the rest us with the Dutch. If you look at percentage of income spent on personal hygiene you'll see that amongst Europeans the Dutch are way to the bottom of the list. So either they have very cheap soap or they don't wash very often.

  46. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    Not to worry

    Just another couple of days and he'll rise again.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tim Russell

    The Dutch are nice people, but if you want to learn the language go to Belgium, as they will talk to you in Dutch whereas in Holland you'll get english most of the time as they speak much better english than your dutch.

  48. Smallbrainfield
    Go

    @ Kit Temple

    WTF did you need £500 worth of bamboo for?

    Are you recreating the set of 'Tenko' in your back garden or something?

    I think the world deserves an answer.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I always find it hilarious...

    .. when Americans make racist remarks about "Europeans" (or anyone else for that matter) when they have clearly never left their own country.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Re: Typical greedy ripoff cloggie...

    Leon, you are correct not all people in NL are money-grabbing, arrogant hypocrits - I'd say only 80% of people in NL are like that.

    Notably, 20% of the population of Holland are immigrants!

  51. vincent himpe

    What a coincidence ..

    As i read the article , the radio was just playing the following song: ( you can sing along too if you want )

    Aruba , Jamaica ,ooo I wanna take you to

    Bermuda , Bahama , come on pretty mama

    Key largo, Montego, baby why dont we go .. (beach boys kokomo)

    Bwaaaaaahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa . The irony. Mr Van Zanten most likely now sips a daiquiri on a sunny beach somewhere.

    Bloody piirates.

  52. Pete Silver badge

    possible compensation package

    Maybe he'll offer all these people compensation - in the form of a discount on the "I am rich" application..

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You guys must have visited the wrong part of the country

    I think you may want to avoid the attitude of one city as representative of the whole country. That's like assuming New Yorkers define the average American (or Washington :-).

    Especially in the South you'll find less of the grabbing attitude. As a matter of fact, you'll find less of an attitude, full stop. And better food :-)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Why the Netherlands?

    Because the Dutch authorities have a somewhat "relaxed" attitude to online crime in general. Don't even think about trying to get the Dutch authorities to do anything about known crackers, DDOS attacks, phishing scams or any other online shenanigans (I know, I've tried), they don't understand/care. To be fair though, UK plod don't take that much of an interest either; a smart criminal who kept his thievery below about £30K a time would be deemed too much effort to chase; too busy rounding up motorists and talking to journalists about extending their powers.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone Portugal...

    do the Jesus Phone. Strangely enough Voda UK don't.

    As for the suckers, well, as the saying goes: if it looks too good to be true it probably is. Serves them right really, what did they expect?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @jeremy

    'The Dutch are nice people, but if you want to learn the language go to Belgium, as they will talk to you in Dutch...'

    Hmmm. Not really sure if you've a) been to Belgium and/or b) paid attention.

    Firstly, it's debatable as to whether any Belgians speak Dutch - the language spoken mainly in the north is certainly a derivative of Dutch but they will argue it's a separate language and you'll probably get hit for suggesting otherwise.

    Secondly, if go to the south of the country or Brussels and attempt to speak/ learn Dutch you'll most definitely get hit as they are French speakers and proud of it. Then you'll get hit again by any northerners for calling it 'Dutch'.

    Sincerely

    A Pedant

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >You guys must have visited the wrong part of the country

    >And better food :-)

    Smiley indeed, it doesn't take much to get better than stale bread and deep fried cheese. HTF do they manage to bake stale bread.

  58. Seanie Ryan
    Go

    my 4 legged friend

    @luke wells

    "the most overpriced phone ever made" i can buy it for eur49. what's overpriced?

    i can think many more phones that are more expensive

    @Scott

    "A) If there dumb" its THEY'RE. now who's dumb! your grammar is like a 419er.

    My question: someone orders something illegal and then reports it to the cops when it doesnt show up... arrest them. Hey Police, i ordered 1000 copied DVD's and got stung. help me. oh and the drugs never arrived neither!!

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    RE: To all you apple flamers

    @ Peter • Wednesday 13th August 2008 03:06 GMT

    What job do you have?? selling i-phones?? With the price of electric and gas and petrol these days, I got my phone from Freecycle... and I bet it can do everything yours can do and more besides, and has a bigger screen :) (2x HTC Blueangel with 3 batteries 2 caddies, 4protection wallets, TomTom, headphones basically everything in multiples)

    :P :P :P :P :P :P

    Bill, because I don't have to use I-Tunes to load software.

  60. Robert Hill
    Jobs Halo

    iTunes and software loads...

    "Bill, because I don't have to use I-Tunes to load software."

    Once again, another know-nothing basher that has obviously never used the device in question...

    While it's true you CAN use iTunes to load software and music, most people find it a whole lot easier to simply press the "App Store" icon on their phone's screen, and download it direct (of course iTunes handles PAYMENT, but that's a one-time only setup). If the application is under 10megs, you can download it pretty much anywhere, if it is larger than 10megs you will need a WiFi connection. I've downloaded and run apps on my iPhone while standing at a train station with WiFi on my way to work...

    As far as I am concerned, the only problem with the whole system is that it makes it _too_ easy...I am spending way too much on software! And no, that is not because I bought a "I Am Rich" jewel...lol.

  61. Adam Clarke
    Boffin

    I have a phone.....

    and it allows me to make and recieve phone calls... what else would you use a phone for?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What is this "Jesus phone"...

    that everyone keeps referring to? I thought the article was about the iPhone 3G? No?

    As to the idiots that signed up with this guy. Well, you knew what you were doing was illegal so why act surprised when you got stung? Its like going to your local market and buying a video game from some guy selling GTA 4 for £5 and then wondering why when you get home it doesn't work.

    and lastly to all the iPhone trolls. Seriously, take a LONG hard look at yourself and realise just how sad you really are. Every day, reading every iPhone article and then posting oh so witty flames on them, honestly, you just come across as bitter (can't afford one?) or jealous (does your phone only have a 1.5 inch screen? size matters).

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Tulips from Amsterdam.

    A mouse live in a windmill in old Amsterdam

    He brought some shit iPhones

    And then did a scam.

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