Pennsylvania State Police put out a warning on Wednesday – watch out for the ” white van scam”and variations of it.
Troopers said the classic scam involves the sale of “expensive, high-end” electronic home theater goods, including speakers and projectors, out of the back of an SUV or van at an almost unbelievable reduced price.
“The equipment is typically cheap, because, generally, it is poor-quality imitations of name-brand good, state police said in an advisory.
The schemers often target areas that see heavy traffic, including banks, shopping centers, and gas stations. The scammers often have a back story saying they are selling the items so cheap because of an overabundance of inventory or leftovers from a job.
State police said the items often have brand names similar to established and popular manufacturers. The packaging appears normal and often includes MSRP price tag and product buzzwords.
Urgency and pressure are often part of the scammers now-or-never sales pitch. In some cases, they will wait around for victims to get money from an ATM or accept whatever money can be provided, state police said.
The scam has also made its way to the internet with crooks using official-looking websites, Craigslist ads, eBay accounts, and social media pages to sell their junk goods. The online storefronts are designed to legitimize the cheap or knock-off products, state police explained.
Troopers advised Pennsylvanians to keep vigilant, research before buying, ask seller specific questions, closely inspect items for sale, don’t feel pressured to buy, use a credit card – not a debit card – when shopping online, and remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true it probably is.