A&E

Money Hungry Leeches Manipulate People into Buying Fake Consoles

In a rush to buy the next big console every year, it seems consumers are more willing than ever  to give in to the high of instant gratification whenever there’s a shortage.

It seems nothing was learned this year, as Playstation 5 (PS5) scalpers soon took to their computers and attempted to suck the money out of people with little self-control. 

This, along with countless other stories of console scalping, have been happening ever since the launch of the PS5. Due to shortages of certain electrical components necessary for production, there will not be any relief until at least 2023, news outlet Forbes claims.

While for many this is a time to simply sit on their hands and play their antiquated PS4s that run games perfectly fine, others aren’t as patient. Scores of people have taken to Twitter, Ebay and other venues to buy their new consoles at skyrocketing prices, with varying degrees of success. 

To everyone’s dismay, a new group of leeches have taken up residence online: scammers. While in the past they were largely stopped by Amazon and eBay’s stalwart defense against bad publicity, new methods of payment processing have left gaps that scammers can sneak in through. 

Not only that, but the scalpers have resorted to using various celebrity’s “verified” accounts to peddle their scam. One instance involves a Point Loma Nazarene University student who has come forward under the condition of anonymity, where they gave a screenshot of their conversation with a verified Twitter user claiming to be Miguel Pinzon, a local actor in L.A.

 As later confirmed by the source this user is not the actual Pinzon and was merely a fake, despite the verification. In the conversation, the student was told by Pinzon that he worked as an official PlayStation salesman, despite the student later discovering there was no such thing. Once the student sent the amount which ended up being $550 , via Cashapp, the scammer dodged his questions until later confirming that he was indeed a scammer, and taunted the student. 

While this is an unfortunate series of events, there are lessons to be learned. First being to recognize that although an account may be verified, there is still the chance that someone can get into the account, especially over Twitter. The easiest, and most common signs may include prices that are too good to be true, as evidenced by the scammer asking for the price of a regular PS5 of $550 rather than inflating it.

Secondly, the risk of using third party payment methods like Cashapp is too great to ignore. While it is a perfectly fine app for paying a friend back for coffee, it should not be used in any major purchases from unknown buyers, as there is little to no way to get your money back. Cashapp is what is called a Peer-To-Peer service, or P2P. The normal method is Party A sends the payment through a third party like a bank for processing and security purposes, then party B receives it. However, with Peer-to-Peer, the processing step is absent, and the two parties just send information and resources back and forth to quicken the process. This makes apps like Cashapp, Zelle or Apple Pay convenient and fast, but also incredibly vulnerable. If you send your money to a scammer, and they decide to cut and run, there is nothing you can do and the payment app is not legally responsible to help you.

While this PS5 drought is no fun, and the offers are tempting, it is safest to grit your teeth and wait out the year or so until it’s over. And forking over several hundred dollars to an unknown user is the worst way to go about it. For now, all you have to do is wait a few grueling years and let the problem sort itself out.

By: Caleb Leasure

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