How the scams work:
Prior to its launch, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 had two notorious scams that made headlines: the “Test and Keep” text message and the “Buy my Pre-order” Craigslist post.
Now, there are new ones making their rounds. The most prevalent is the “Bait and Switch” scheme. How does it work?
Somebody advertises on Craigslist, Oodle, or Kijiji they are selling their brand new Galaxy S6 for a particular reason (e.g. he received two on his birthday last week, or that his company gave one to every employee right after he purchased his, etc).
You meet him and he has two brand new sealed boxes. He says one is for another client, who should be there any minute. The price is good, say $200. As he opens one of the boxes to verify that there is a real Samsung Galaxy S6 inside, the other client – usually a girl, his accomplice – shows up.
While you are checking the phone, she says to the seller that her dad has the cash, but he is around the corner and for some reason he can't come (he might be parked illegally and has to move the car if a parking officer comes over. Meanwhile, you finished examining the gadget, feel happy, and give the seller $200 in cash. He gives you the sealed box, puts the money in an envelope, seals it, and while he sticks it in his pocket asks the girl if they should go where the dad is. She says yes and leaves first.
As you are ready to go as well, he looks reluctantly at the girl and asks you for a favor. He hands you back the envelope with your money just to hold it til he comes back, as he's afraid of being robbed by going around the corner with a bunch of cash. Well, you have the phone and the money, so you can wait a minute.
After he's been gone for 5 minutes, you panic. You open the box and instead of a Galaxy S6 you find a stone. Then you open the envelope and find paper instead of money. What he did was to create a fake Samsung Galaxy box wrapped perfectly, while the envelope with paper was just a double he had in the same pocket.
Watch the video below to see in action the Bait and Switch scam, exposed.
The same scam was reported to happen particularly during cruises. As the ships stop for a few hours or days in different towns, tourists are approached by locals right when they're about to step back on the ship. Very friendly, the crooks show them a new Galaxy S6, let them play with it, and then sell it to them for half of the regular price. Or so the tourists think. As soon as they get back on the ship and unpack the box thinking they've got a fantastic deal, they find rocks and stones. By that time it's too late to go back.
There are also a few other Android phone sale scams, coming in different forms:
1. E-mail with shipping info
Cooks send mass e-mails impersonating workers at UPS or Fedex offering you info about your “shipment and delivery”. A confusing but tempting statement along with a great photo of the phone might make you click on a link they provide, just so you see what they're talking about. Opening the link will take you to a website preloaded with the Blackhole Exploit Kit, which is currently the most popular web threat according to Wikipedia. The page contains a hidden script which will give scammers control over your computer. You can now imagine the rest.
2. Buy the Galaxy S6 now!
Scammers also create fake websites advertising themselves as official retailers of Samsung products. All you have to do is to pay and you'll get the Galaxy S6 delivered to you “by Friday”! The page might also have an available file for download called galaxys6.gif.exe, which is a virus that will compromise your computer.
3. Free phone campaigns
You see them everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, any other social media platforms. There are companies that organize legitimate contests but the majority are bogus. The most popular in this category comes from Facebook, where a link on your wall appearing to come from one of your friends informs you about “Samsung Galaxy S6 contest page”. The scammers make the link come from a bid company such as Wired magazine. Once you click on the link you are invited to fill out a captcha, which may make you feel more confident that is not spam. Once you've done that, you are taken to a page where you are required to post personal information in order to get a shot at the free iPhone. Not only you won't get any phone, but you will also spam all your friends' walls as well.
How to avoid:
It cannot be any simpler. Buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 or any of the other Android phones only from the authorized dealers. If you already are in the situation described in the “Bait and Switch” scam, don't leave anything out of your sight. If you opened a box, take that product and don't switch it with anything else.
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