An increase in armed muggings have caused a spike in sales of dummy smartphones that on first glance look real. (You can buy one from Amazon for around $20.) Apparently they were first sold as display items to electronic stores wanting to protect their real inventory from smash-and-grabs. From the Associated Press:
Axel says he sells three or four dummy phones a week out of his stall in a downtown electronics marketplace, next door to a colonial college building that dates to 1767.
Axel, who asked his full name not be used for fear police would accuse him of selling fake merchandise, said all of his customers know they are buying fakes.
"It's useful for robberies, the large number of muggings happening in Mexico City," said Axel. "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."
But Axel admits the victim would be in trouble if a thief caught them handing over a "dummy" phone.
"Obviously there are problems, because if the criminals search it or find out … there is going to be a problem."
Because of that, some try a different strategy, spending a little more to buy a cheap but real second phone.