Although the white van speaker scam is apparently as prevalent as ever, people’s passion for more recent tech kit has given scammers plenty to play with in their bid to ‘earn’ a few bucks.
As you might expect, Apple’s range of sought-after premium-priced products are a scammer’s dream – high-profile devices desired by many, expensive to buy, highly portable for easy street selling, and the perfect shape and size for disguising as something else.
The latest iPad-related scam to hit the headlines comes via the San Francisco Chronicle which this week reported on tricksters in California’s Central Valley taking innocent bargain hunters for a ride.
According to the report, police in the small city of Ceres have received “multiple reports” of members of the public being approached by people offering iPads at low “out of the box” prices. Except that it’s not an iPad. It’s a floor tile with the Apple logo stuck on it.
It appears that a glimpse of the bubble-wrapped ‘tablet’, with the logo showing, is enough to convince the buyer that it’s genuine, though of course the waving about of the real product, together with a persuasive sales pitch from a charismatic seller, would also have helped lead the victim into handing over a wedge of cash.
As scams go, this one appears to have been well executed, with the perpetrators clearly having given some considerable thought to the nature of the stand-in product, with the size and shape looking pretty close to that of Apple’s popular tablet.
It sure beats the one in London a year ago where swindlers convinced shoppers to buy what they thought was an Apple computer and ended up with a sack of onions, although the routine – which involved a quick suitcase switch at an ATM machine – was admittedly far more inventive.
Ceres police haven’t said precisely how many people have fallen for the con, but added that another scam doing the rounds in the area involves large pieces of wood being sold as flatscreen TVs. If people are this gullible it won’t be long before we have someone selling rubber bands as Fitbits.
It seems that when faced with the offer of what appears to be an unbelievable bargain, some consumers just can’t help themselves. And with a never-ending flow of exciting new gadgets and gizmos pouring onto the market, and a boom in wearable tech just around the corner, incidents like these won’t be going away anytime soon.