A gang of con men in Manchester, England, have managed to scam unsuspecting customers out of over £3,000 (approx. $4,700) since February by selling bottles of water, cans of Coke, and bags of potatoes which they claim to be iPhones and laptops. In some cases they are taking £1,400 (approx. $2,200) per transaction.
The gang have been approaching the public and showing off real iPhones and laptops, then offering to sell them at incredibly low prices. Once you part with your cash, the con man hands over a bag and you go home with a smile on your face thinking you’ve just secured a brand new phone or computer at a bargain price.
However, that smile soon disappears when you open the bag to find what you’ve actually been sold are potatoes, cans of Coke, or bottles of water.
Macworld reports that back in February, a 40-year-old man paid £900 (approx. $1,400) for what he thought was an iPhone and a laptop, only to receive a rucksack containing three bottles of water. Another victim paid £660 (approx. $1,050) for the same devices, but actually received a back containing bottles of Coke.
In the worst case, one man spent £1,400 (approx. $2,200) of what he thought were two laptops. In fact he had just bought the world’s most expensive bag of potatoes.
The con men, who are described as white with Eastern European accents, are believed to have secured £3,000 since February. Police believe that the gang is likely targeting people across Greater Manchester:
It is likely they are continuing to target people across Greater Manchester and I would urge anyone who is approached by them to not give them money.
Please be mindful that if you are approached by anyone who are selling electrical goods it is highly likely they have been stolen and by buying the goods, you will also be breaking the law by handling stolen items.
It goes without saying that you should never hand over your hard-earned cash for deals that seem too good to be true — especially when they come from a man in the street holding a rucksack. Do yourself a favor and spend a little extra on a real device from a reputable retailer.