Online scammers in Russia have professionally recreated a replica of the famous New Zealand website nzherald.com and fooled readers claiming it to be the original news website by posting an article with the headline "Apple gives away free iPhones 11 Pro after fire".

How did the scammers fool people?

Apple iPhone XS looks gorgeous in gold shade
Apple iPhone XS looks gorgeous in gold shade Ben Geskin/Twitter screen-shot

The article showed pictures of a fire breaking out at the Apple warehouse and their phones being damaged. The fake article cited that Apple was unable to sell the phones and are giving away for free.

The article, which is well written in international standards, then takes readers to another fake Apple website which is of superior quality, saying that the tech giant is selling off the damaged phones for $1 and fooled people to key in their bank account and card details to purchase the phones, while the buyer was deducted $1 in the hopes of receiving the phone.

The fake article promoted the iPhone 11 for $1 with a catchy slogan that read, "No limits in what Apple can do! The company ships the latest iPhone models to the customers absolutely free, after the largest fire occurred at a warehouse in New Zealand."

If the fake news website was not enough, the scammers had also created a fake NZ Herald Facebook page with a good number of likes and showcased the article of the iPhone along with ads to make people believe it is indeed true.

The IP addresses of the scammers lead to Russia

After the scam was brought to light, NZME Information Security Manager, Patrick Blampied, lodged a complaint with FraudWatch and the fake websites, Facebook pages have now been taken down and the IP addresses of the scammers lead to Russia.

"The quality of the website is reasonably good. The quality of the iPhone page is quite good. So the quality is there and as I assumed the scale will be there too. This is a pretty good one in the sense there are a lot of phishing emails that go around but there's a bit of effort put into this. The quality's better. So they'll have multiple versions of these sites for multiple news media companies. It's likely to be a global campaign," Patrick Blampied said.