High-tech hardware selling out quickly, and many shoppers are getting desperate


The COVID pandemic is forcing so many folks to do their shopping from home and internet scammers are coming up with new ways of stealing your money or your identification.

When it comes to gaming console ripoffs, consumer watchdogs are upping their game, too.

With online shopping already at a record pace, shoppers are finding those hot items sold out and out of stock at just about every turn with the big-name retailers.

So they are taking a chance, and turning to lesser-known sellers that may, or may not be, on the up-and-up says Ball State Economics Professor Steven Horwitz.

“If you are fighting, you know, the people who are trying to buy up PS5’s to sell them at a higher price somewhere else, you know, good luck, right?,” Horwitz said.

This year, electronics game consoles are among the hottest sellers, and the most likely for online scammers to offer as bait, through legitimate third party payment sites dishing out holiday disappointment.

“It isn’t that PlayStation 5 or any of the gaming consoles, it is either an old phone case or it is a bunch of papers–it is just not what they ordered. But because they paid through a third party app they have no way to get their money back because the package was delivered, the transaction was completed.”

Melanie McGovern with the Better Business Bureau, Upstate New York told us, in other cases, the scammer might post a picture of the PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series 10, and that is exactly what they sell you, the picture.

So McGovern says be extra careful buying big-ticket items from sites that are unfamiliar, and if you are using PayPal, make sure the seller is using a merchant’s account.

“If the merchant does not have a merchant PayPal and they are asking you to use a personal PayPal, that is kind of a red flag as well because the merchant PayPal–you have a lot more protection with your credit card than you do with a personal PayPal account,” she added.

A spokesperson for eBay sent an email saying, “eBay is committed to providing a safe, secure online shopping experience to millions of people,” and they are now in the process of removing fraudulent listings of PlayStation 5’s from their marketplace.

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