Be warned! Before purchasing online

Thanks to P5YCH0.

He was looking through the boards of the popular gaming site IGN.com, and came across this thread which said:

Salt Lake City residents Kerry and Brian Wagner were eager to get their 6-year-old son, Nick, a PlayStation 2 (news - web sites) (PS2) for Christmas. The popular video game system was sold out in stores, so the couple went online.

On eBay, the couple found exactly what they were looking for, offered at $300 apiece -- retail value for a PS2.

"Can you say overstocked? We can!" the eBay ad read. "You are bidding on the Sony PlayStation 2 Xmas bundle picture below. New, sealed and unused."

The Wagners jumped at the chance and were delighted when an Airborne Express package arrived just a few weeks later -- until they opened the box. Inside the box they found only a picture of a PS2.

Go back and read that ad again. The key word is "picture." In their excitement to get one of the hottest Christmas gifts around, the Wagners, and 74 other buyers, were duped by tricky wording.

"What we bid on and what we purchased was the picture, and not the PlayStation," Kerry Wagner said.

It was a $300 lesson in proofreading.

But postal inspectors told 10News that a reasonable person would expect to get a PlayStation, and getting a picture instead is fraud.

10News reported that the person who posted the ad, Anthony Van Dean, is also pushing X-Boxes and computer motherboards on eBay, all with the same wording.

By way of a post office box at an El Cajon boulevard Mail Boxes, Etc., 10News was able to trace Van Dean to an address in Clairemont. There, 10News found Tom Schaefer, Van Dean's former roommate.

Schaefer said Van Dean was a student at the University of California, San Diego. Smart, and computer savvy, Van Dean had very few scruples, according to Schaefer.

"He would have been the guy most likely to perpetrate something like that," Schaefer said.

Six months ago Van Dean was working as a manager for a downtown parking company, 10News reported. His records as an employee with the company were not made available to 10News.

But postal inspectors can get their hands on that information, along with records of postal drops at the post office box. Investigators said they plan to follow up on what the Unit 10 Investigation has found.

If you were a victim of this scam, or one like it, authorities ask that you report it immediately to the FBI (news - web sites)'s Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

This may sound funny to most, but when it happens to one of them it really isn't. So people should be careful and clarify and confirm with the seller before jumping the gun and buying the product. It is illegal for the seller to do something like this and you can report this to the authorities, but it's always better to check everything before hand so there's no need for going through the trouble in the future.

News source: IGN.com Boards

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