Free Powerbook Scams?
July 3, 2004 2:29 PM   Subscribe

ScamFilter: what's the deal with the "bid on info on how to get a free powerbook" auctions? It seems like a scam, and yet, it doesn't seem like this would be anywhere near as profitable as, say, selling something expensive and disappearing. If it's real, what's the catch? If it's not, how are these guys doing well enough to make it worthwhile?
posted by namespan to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
posted by majick at 2:49 PM on July 3, 2004

Just to confirm: Scam. Fraud. Fake. Don't bother. Go elsewhere.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:25 PM on July 3, 2004

um, they "sell" you an email with some probably crap suggestions for money, how is that not profitable?
posted by rhyax at 3:25 PM on July 3, 2004

Speaking as someone with absolutely no experience in the scamming business, I would think that selling info like this is less risky than selling something expensive and disappearing. The buyer is actually receiving something for his/her money; true, it's useless, but there's an actual transaction going on, which gives the scammer a much steadier position legally. The sheer volume that they're "moving" makes it worthwhile; the numbers mentioned in majick's link indicate this.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 4:48 PM on July 3, 2004

There are also a number of too-good-to-be-true deals popping up on craigslist, like this one. I actually followed up on one, just out of curiosity.

Turns out the seller was in Russia. Umm, yeah. Think I'll pass.
posted by adamrice at 6:44 PM on July 3, 2004

The point is that selling "info" isn't illegal. It preys on the stupid. So it's a much better choice for a scammer.
posted by smackfu at 9:58 PM on July 3, 2004

My younger brother used to use option #2 from majick's list, where he'd sell you a URL or email or something that told you how to misrepresent yourself as a buyer or tester or something for an electronics dealer. I thought this was really disgusting and tried to convince him to stop, but he was too excited to be getting $20 a week or so from it (Lots of stupid people out there). Shortly thereafter, he decided he was going to go into electronics as a career. His business plan? To convince electronics dealers to sell him stuff at cost, then sell it on eBay. I guess he was going to give back part of the profits to the dealers. Anyway, luckily he never sank any money into this harebrained scheme.

Next, he decided he was going to be a rock star...
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:44 AM on July 4, 2004

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