Oldest. One. In. The. Book.
The people who perpatrate this crime are utter wankers, and their victims are stupid, greedy idiots.
Greater Manchester police are appealing for help after a number of people who thought they were laying hands on a shiny new iPhone ended up with a sack of spuds instead. The conmen approached people in car-parks and on the street to ask them if they fancied buying laptops or iPhones, but actually gave them some totally random …
So old there is even a common English saying which evolved from the practise.
"Letting the cat out of the bag" comes from people selling a cat in a sack and claiming it to be a pig. "Letting the cat out of the bag" came to mean "revealing a secret or deception".
I'm not sure if I should be angry at the conmen for the con, or admire their adherence to tradition. Whichever it is I have little sympathy for the victims. They're either very very gullible, or willing to buy what must flag up a few "stolen goods" alarms in their head.
Another English saying comes to mind - A fool and their money are easily parted.
To quote from http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/let_the_cat_out_of_the_bag/
"It’s commonly asserted that let the cat out of the bag refers to the cat o’ nine-tails used on board ships as form of punishment. The whip would be kept in a special bag to protect it from the sea air and to let the cat out of the bag was to confess a crime worthy of flogging. A neat tale, except there is absolutely no evidence to connect the phrase with a nautical origin. "
AIUI there wasn't actually a "special cat" that was kept in a bag, rather someone who was due to be flogged would be given a short length of rope and they had to unravel it and actually make the device for their own punishment.
Naval ropes were made from three smaller ropes twisted together, each of which were made, in turn, from three thinner ropes, hence why the Navy Cat had nine tails.
the not-so-oft-used phrase "buying a pig in a poke" derives from the same situation, where a poke is old English for a small bag (where we get the modern 'pocket').
To buy a pig in a poke means you have no idea of what you are getting.
If its too good to be true - its either not so good or its not true.
There endeth the lesson - I'll get my coat.
Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money? Anyone who hands over £1400 in cash to a bloke on a garage forecourt who offers him a couple of cheap laptops doesn't even deserve a potato. They should have all their assets seized and made to starve to death so their genes are removed from the gene pool.
Yeah - and while we're at it, why is it a crime to steal a car if it's left unlocked, or to burgle someone's house if they leave a window open when they go on holiday?
Scammers and thieves don't stop being criminals just because the mark is a fool.
Why would anyone think £1400 is a great deal for 2 laptops sold by someone on a garage forecourt? If they didn't even see what model laptops they were then it's even more stupid as they could have been some real cheap laptops that you can get brand new in legit stores for under £400 each. It's very hard to sympathise with victims with few brain cells than the fingers on their hands.
Buy 2 functional laptops off ebay for around £50 (who cares if they're 200mhz pentium II's).
Sell to idiot for £1400.
If you find a company you could even set yourself up as one of those 'safe disposal' things and get paid to receive the shitty laptops in the first place.
Because being a fool isn't illegal and some people are of low intelligence and have a right to the protection of the law like anyone else.
However, in this case these people are most likely not just fools, but dishonest fools. Unless they are of markedly low intelligence, they must have expected that the offered goods were dodgy. If so, they deserved everything they got.
Either that or the sellers are accomplished confidence tricksters who manage to get otherwise sensible and law-abiding people to make stupid snap decisions.
So, given the circumstances - ridiculously low price, approached in forecourts, etc - these punters know there's a 99.999% chance these would be stolen laptops or phones and still go for it?
I'd say the police should fine them for attempting to purchase stolen goods, not help them or call them victims.
Absolutely, I think Political Correctness has had it's day.
"anyone who may have fallen victim"
"anyone who was stupid enough to deal with two Eastern European men on a garage forecourt with obviously stolen goods"
Can someone also convince me that it is possible to withdraw £1400 from a cash machine? The most I can get is £500 (I suppose he could have used multiple cards)
"but actually gave them some totally random other thing in a bag" -- Quite a common item to find actually, potatoes are used [in this scam] due to their weight and cost. I also remember seeing potatoes used in The Real Hustle's Christmas gift wrapping scam.
"Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?" -- Fraud / Obtaining Funds by Deception. You choose.
.... the "victims", I'm glad they've lost their money! Trying to get a bargain at the misery of someone else.
I can't believe anyone, in this day and age, doesn't know that if someone approaches you out of the blue, offering to sell electrical goods, it's guaranteed not to be kosher. It was even in a car park ffs.
But if you're dumb enough to buy a pair of used laptops for £1400 which sounds like a good deal you deserve to get a sack of potatoes.
I mean for god sakes, even if it wasn't a con and it were a real laptop its probably stolen or broken or both. I mean seriously are people these days THAT stupid? (don't answer that)
These are not victims we should feel especially sorry for - they were trying to buy something that most people would reasonably expect to be stolen.
If someone offered you a new iPhone that you knew to be worth £500 for £200 - SURELY - you would realise something were wrong.
Good money for the crooks - do that just once a day...
Tripped by their own greed. Sad thing is, when they catch the fraudsters, they will probably get a harsher sentence than if they had hit the guy over the head and taken off with his wallet.
Incidentally, a previous poster commented, quite correctly, that getting your hands on £1,400 in a few minutes is not a cakewalk. Off the top of my head, I could rustle up £600 (£300 on my cash card, £300 on the Mrs). Beyond that, we'd be looking at having to cash in some savings, and my building society has a limit (£300 IIRC) on how much you can cash in without 48 hours warning. Which leads me to believe there are some fundamental facts missing from this story. Still, it makes a good headline, and takes the plebs mind off the real news...
Which begs the question, how can someone with so much money to hand be so fucking stupid ? I'm not equating riches with intelligence btw, just pointing out that the richer the guy is, the less need he would have of a knocked-off laptop.
Mind you, when I worked in a small car repair firm, the people with the most expensive cars invariably argued over the bill, whilst people who could hardly afford the coat on their back usually paid without question. When I pointed this out to the owner, he just said "that's hopw they got rich".
[QUOTE="Mr_Pitiful"] I wondered about getting the cash also, then I remembered something...
HSBC do have a platnium account 'withdraw upto £1000 a day from cash machines'
If you also had a credit card linked to it the £2k in maybe 3 mins[/QUOTE]
shhhh! he was undercover... the bills are marked ;)
. . . that over here are a bunch of very experienced people from all over the world who give their time for free to try to help victims: http://www.scamwarners.com/
Please do read a few stories there and you guys might not be so harsh on the victims (and often their families as well) that we deal with every day
Having said that I agree it's an old con - once upon a time when I was young & foolish I used to follow them around the service area car parks that they infest spoiling their pitch until they left - in those days it was quilts or watches.
Best advice when buying stuff from someone you don't know is to ask take their picture :)
Posted AC for once because of what I do.
We've all been there. Some "geezer" approaches you asking if you wan to buy a watch/phone as you walk into the garage. You instantly sense something is wrong, feel very uneasy and decline.
The worst place for this on my travels is the garages on the A3 outside Guildford. Been approached there many times by people trying to flog stuff.
The other was a woman at Warwick services who needed £20 to take her sick mother to hospital. She had "the cancer" apparently and the more I questioned the more overbearing the woman became. Told the woman that why didn't she seek help in the shop from the staff? She started making excuses and backed off.
When I asked in the shop the staff said this was happening quite often and the police might turn up when they felt like it.
As I left the woman started on her next "victim". I guess if you hang around long enough someone will fall for the story and hand over 20 quid.
While I have sympathy for people who are conned through no fault of their own other than being a bit naive. For these people I have not a single jot of sympathy. Anyone who gets approached by some random stranger offering to sell them something on the cheap is bound to know it's either a con or it's stolen goods, either way they should have known better and have only themselves to blame.
Oddly enough when I was younger a bloke in car spotted me coming out of a shop and called me over to offer me a watch for £20. I bartered him down to £15 (even though I had £30 in my wallet).
This was about 15yrs ago, I still have the watch and with the odd bit of maintenance by a jewellers over the years is still going strong, it is a very unique design and have never seen one since.
On reflection is was a very stupid move but I was lucky enough to come out on top with that deal, something that would never happen nowadays though.
I did the same mindless thing years ago as a wet-behind-the-ears student.
Walking along the street, a guy pulled up in a car and offered me a watch for £40. Showed it to me in a case, and he had a whole back seat full of them. I said as a passing remark I'd take it for £20 and he said OK then. Put it in a box and gave it to me. It's died now, but worked for about 10 years.
It wasn't a Claude Valentino or something like that was it?
in the Canaries, they don't even bother to pretend that the Rolexes are genuine. They pile them high and sell them cheap. If anyone thinks they're buying the real thing they're idiots, and if anyone from Rolex thinks they are losing money because of it, they're also idiots.
I bought one so my decent watch didn't get ruined by sand or saltwater. It was branded Rolexe (sic).
Good advice in general.
Never buy anything from someone who owns a Vauxhall, including a car ;)
Though in fairness, old Vectras are still fairly plentiful and can be picked up for peanuts, and seem to have a fairly high attrition rate compared to the likes of the contemporary Mondeo (when did you last see a 90s mk1/2?).
I've heard they've actually had laptops, camcorders, cameras boxed; show you them out of the box, put the box into a bag. But when the mark opens the box later, it is a potato / water bottle - either they do a trick and switch the box they're putting into the bag, or they switch the bag.
"...asked if he wanted to buy two laptops for £1,400. He reckoned that was a good deal"
Really? Guess he shops in PC World.
Anyway, so the point of this story is there's two guys running around with massive amounts of hard cash on them, they're criminals, and you've given us a decent description of them? Anyone fancy joining me in a jaunt to Manchester?...
I heard the con artists gave him poor technical information but bullied him into taking covercare, then wouldn't exchage it because the potato was chipped....
The initial spud was a return/refurb'd potato that they tried to palm off on him.
When he opened the spud, in PC World fashion half of it was taken up by trials of anti-virus pesticides.
Then a week later he finds out the price of his spud was artificially inflated so that the crims can claim to have a sale at the original price.
"Not that much money"?!
That would pay my grocery bills for at least six months.
The comment has been made often enough already, but just what sort of person has that much cash to hand for an un-premeditated transaction. I can only assume that the cash handed over was also dishonestly aquired.
Not that much money????
A statement like that puts me in mind of the type of person who goes on these Escape to the Homes under the Hammer in the Country programmes and you can only get a mortgage for £750k for a "modest" dwelling.
I've never owned a car worth more than £1400, £1500 would be a considerable whack to lose.
But then I don't have a 'Premier' account to tell people on an internet forum.
If you ask your bank to increase the limit of how much you can withdraw on your card they will change the limit.
Well Lloyds did for me as going into the bank to withdraw more than £200 was pi$$ing me off I can now withdraw "More™"
As for the stroy - no sympathy for anyone who buys stolen goods and getting fooled by one of the oldest tricks in the book
@Steve Evans - you might be thinking of buying "a pig in a poke".
a pig in a poke
something that is bought or accepted without knowing its value or seeing it first.
[with reference to the formerly common trick of selling a cat concealed in a bag to someone who was expecting a pig] - OED
Anyway, if one of my friends or colleagues offered to sell me a laptop, I'd want to see it, and see it working. How stupid would I have to be to to buy it unseen, off a stranger? And I guess this is racist of me, but somehow a stranger with a foreign accent is even more suspicious.
Cheap big saloons/hatches, innit.
Mondeos from the 90s tend to get scrapped early.
German cars are too expensive.
French cars are mostly diesel, so the 2nd hand price is inflated and they get taxiied/tradesmanned to bangerdom.
Japanese cars the parts are too expensive.
Italian cars, Vectra size are quite rare (other than the 156) and the electrics can be temperamental.
I've heard this story in El Reg before. If you want to impress me, find me a story where a sod supposedly hands over cash for a sack of potatoes, only for the fraudsters to try to spend their money and get thrown in jail...because the money was counterfeit! Show me a sneak being sneaked and I'll have something to laugh about for weeks.
The purchaser clearly intended to buy an item that was not legal and got stung. Under the principle of 'ex turpi causa' he should not be permitted to take action against the vendor - and should be prosecuted himself as he was engaging in an illegal act, that of receiving stolen goods
Cheating husband blows £1400 on a trinket for the girlfriend, wife spots the withdrawal and demands an explanation. Hubby remembers a story in the local paper about some East European scam artists in a Vauxhall and says.. "I bought these laptops for us dear", and promptly gives her the bag of spuds he went to the shops for in the first place.
Action Fraud are a waste of time. I contacted them 2 weeks ago about an attempted internet fraud using ebay, but although I was still in contact with the fraudster they didn't seem all that interested they said they would call be back. When they called me back 2 days later I was out, and when my wife asked for their number they replied "Oh he's got our number". I called the 0300 number and received an automated reply "This number does not accept incoming calls". No alternative number was given. Why bother?
may not work with all banks, but will with many...
your limit is 500
you take out 480
you ask for another 500
it checks, you are not over limit yet today, so it lets you have it
this works because the machine only asks "limit or not" and doesn't ask if the proposed second withdrawal would go over the limit. It then asks for 500, which (if you have it on the account) the bank hands over on the assumption the limit check has already been done and passed.
you can't ask for more at any one time than the total daily limit OR the transaction limit on the machine itself, which is high traffic areas may be lower (to leave some cash in for other people).
IT, where would we be without it?
It's got even more funnees, bottles of water and bottles of coke, to go with the spuds. The truly gullible could get a full meal going on.
All the talk of bank accounts not giving out much at ATMs are forgetting that the there is a vast underclass that deal solely with cash because they don't trust banks (wise) or the banks won't touch them. Hence the popularity of the payday loans and real loan sharks.
When I pop into Argos in my northern seaside town (that they forgot to bomb), I'm usally the only one using the yellow card pay kiosks, everyone else queues with their bundles of cash.
This is weird -about 12 years ago I was holidaying in Tuscany with a friend and his girlfriend and as we headed back to germany by car, not too far away from our holiday home that we stayed at -we stopped at a petrol station and he got dupped by EXACTLY the same hustle..
This time it was for a swanky (at the time) Nokia mobile phone...
There must be something about petrol stations and heavy weighted items...
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