Scam: London crook offering shoppers iPhone and Mac computer but giving onions

A number of Christmas shoppers in London tempted by the prospect of bagging some cheap Apple goods have been handing over cash for what they think is an iPhone and Mac computer only to discover later that what they’ve actually been given is a sack of onions. You might call it a scam guaranteed to end in tears.

It goes something like this: Man walks up to person on street. Man asks if person is interested in some Apple goods he’s carrying in a case. Man opens suitcase to reveal iPhone 5 and Mac computer. Man shows they’re in good working order. Person asks how much. Man says £1000 ($1605). Person not sure. Man drops price to £700 ($1125). Person’s face lights up.

This is where it gets interesting – the pair walk to an ATM, and as the victim withdraws the agreed amount of cash, a second person working with the scammer walks nonchalantly by, switching cases as he goes. The victim is too busy counting his cash to notice.

Person hands over cash. Man hands over case. Man makes a quick exit. Person returns home. Person opens case and sees sack of onions. Person reaches for book of soup recipes.

In the past month alone, at least five people in the London borough of Hounslow have fallen for the con, police told the Evening Standard.

You might wonder how on earth someone can be taken in by a scam like this, but it’s a clever trick that appeals to people’s insatiable desire for a bargain, which of course is even more prevalent at this time of year. The scammer, armed with a large sack of onions, only needs to happen across a shopper on the hunt for a tech product (and what shopper isn’t on the hunt for at least one tech product this holiday shopping season) and the deal’s almost done.

But remember folks, if something sounds too good to be true….

[Image: Schankz / Shutterstock]

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