There are all sorts of problems that plague the fringes of the video game community. Many of these are related to the acquiring of goods. Video games and consoles are generally not difficult to come by if you're willing to wait a good period of time after they release. However, with a worldwide culture of, “you have it, I want it,” waiting is not really humanity's strong suit. This is especially clear with the Nintendo Switch. People have been clamoring over each other to get their hands on the coveted console. Japan has seen the worst of it, with people lining up around city blocks just to enter a lottery to potentially purchase the system.
Many have turned to console scalpers, which I have talked about at length before. Still others are falling victim to much less legitimate means of console acquisition. There have always been scammers in every single walk of life. Some people live the life of the scam. I'm assuming at least some of you have seen the film Catch Me If You Can. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays real life Frank Abagnale, Jr., who devoted his life to cons. There are other truth is stranger than fiction cases, like the man who sold the Brooklyn Bridge over and over again. Nowadays, the con takes on an anonymous face. No longer do you have a specific person with a name (real or not) to attach to a crime. Now it's disappearing social media accounts, and email addresses that have no real identities.
In the era of the Internet, it's become increasingly easy to do things we wouldn't do in reality. From the innocuous, like insulting someone via a Reddit thread, to large-scale hacks or scams. The popularity of the Nintendo Switch has made the darker side of the Internet rear its ugly head once again. Earlier this year, Amazon was rife with fake listings for the console and its applicable accessories. But since then, Amazon has made an active attempt to control these. It's always worth taking a look at sellers' ratings and number of transactions completed to see if they're on the level. Not all new accounts are frauds, but the old adage will always ring clear, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Recently, it would seem an all too familiar scam is starting to make its Nintendo Switch-themed rounds along the Internet. It is the old "send me gift cards and I'll give you this thing/service" con. Japan has seen so many instances of this fraud that it's even been reported on local news stations. There's one child in particular who fell for it. A Twitter account said it had a Switch for sale, and that potential buyers should private message them. The young boy did, and the “seller” told him he would need to get 30,000 yen ($270) in Amazon credit and send him the code. The boy promptly did, but the seller responded saying that the code gave him an error that it was already used, at which point they asked the boy to check if the code was entered correctly. It was then that the account was deleted.
These sort of scams are all too familiar to adults in the know, but not everyone has been exposed to the same knowledge. And even more so, children are usually not going to be aware of this sort of thing unless their parents have told them. They don't know as well as we do how to check for signs of fraudulent activity. The poor boy was actually gifted a brand new Nintendo Switch from another Twitter user, but an important lesson was hopefully learned.
It's really important that you take often heard phrases and adages seriously. Yes, it can get annoying to hear the same thing over and over again, but there's usually a reason why it's repeated. If it looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you're asked to jump through unusual hoops, like buying Amazon credit first, it's also probably too good to be true. It's really unfortunate that people in this day and age still fall for these types of scams, since they've been around for a long time. Sure, the means of money delivery change, but the same old concept remains.
Please, take a careful look at anything before you buy it. Thankfully, with guarantees from companies like Amazon, you have means of getting your money returned if you buy a fraudulent listing. But there's no recourse for Amazon credit given out willingly (at the time). If you fall victim to this sort of scam, you will have lost all the money you put into it unfortunately. Educate yourself, your friends, your families, and your children so that none of you become a statistic.