Ever wish you could score an amazing deal on a shiny new Apple iPad? One gentleman in the UK thought he was getting an incredible bargain on an iPad for sale on the street. Instead, the man paid almost $400 (US) for a box filled with potatoes. That’s right. Potatoes.
French fries are great, but not when you thought you were going to be getting an iPad. Of course, bait-and-switch schemes are always a risk when you’re buying high-end electronics from people on the street. In previous years, victims have reported receiving fake plastic iPads or pieces of plywood in their shiny new Apple box.
The box of potatoes just takes this counterfeit scam to a new level. Let’s talk a little more about the nature of street vendor scams and how you can avoid them.
Ah, The Old Potatoes-in-a-Box Trick
The details surrounding this particular tale are pretty astounding all on their own and shed new light on the nature of street vendor scams.
The victim was reportedly hanging out at Piccadilly Station, right in the middle of Manchester, when he was approached by two gentleman offering to sell him a new 16GB iPad on the cheap. For just 250 British pounds (about the equivalent of US $390), it was a pretty good discount from the retail price of 399 British pounds (closer to US $620).
The man arranged to meet the two fraudulent salesman in a parking lot, which ought to be at the top of the list for Places Where You Should Never Purchase High-End Electronics.
But the victim was apparently blinded to the red flags of this scam, handed over his cash, and got home to find that he’d just paid $390 for a box full of spuds.
Avoid the Most Clever Frauds & Cons
Although we all think we’re too smart to fall for a scam, it’s actually pretty easy for a clever fraudster or con artist to work past our mental defenses. Our brains simply aren’t wired to work against some of the tactics used by scammers.
So how do you avoid getting ripped off? The answer is often simple.
If something seems suspicious, trust your gut and walk the other way. Follow this rule to make sure that you don’t get your hard-earned money stolen.
If someone approaches you on the street and offers to sell you something (especially if it’s a too-good-to-be-true discount), chances are that you’re the latest target of a professional con artist’s current scheme.
When you’re shopping for consumer electronics like an iPad or a laptop computer, you’ve got to make sure that you’re buying from an authorized vendor.
This eliminates the possibility that you’ll walk away with a box full of potatoes and it also gives you added protections like a warranty and a return policy.
Buying expensive goods on the street can also place you in physical danger of being mugged or assaulted. Mr. Potato Head is lucky he wasn’t hurt when he met the two scammers in a parking lot. Remember, even if the deal doesn’t set off any red flags, never jeopardize your personal safety. Always conduct financial transactions in a secure, well-lit public place and bring a friend.
So have you ever encountered scams on the street like this one? Share your stories in the comments below.
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