360 photo scam still going

Unscrupulous grifters trick desperate holiday shoppers into buying pictures of Xbox 360s on online auction sites.

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The hot holiday item, if one believes the media hype, is the Xbox 360. Short supply and high demand have left many holiday shoppers looking for the console empty-handed. While the thought of parents looking into the teary eyes of children left without an Xbox 360 this Christmas is saddening, imagine the same scenario with said parents paying upwards of $800 for a worthless photo of the gaming system.

That's exactly what has happened to a few shoppers desperate to get an Xbox 360 under the Christmas tree this year. eBay and other Web sites have multitudes of bidding wars going for the next-gen console, and the frenzy has attracted the cold hearts of those looking to take advantage of the situation. In a "cross-your-fingers-and-hope-someone-falls-for-it" scam, some tricksters on online auction site eBay have set up pages hawking what appear to be Xbox 360s.

Recently a New York woman was the winning bidder of an eBay auction for a new Xbox 360...at least that's what she thought. According to Web site TechWeb.com, the buyer inquired about the description of the item up for grabs--"Photo of picture of Xbox." The seller responded that it was a typo, and shipped out the winning item. Days later, an envelope arrived with a picture of an Xbox 360--that's it, just a piece of paper.

Her winning bid was more than $600. The Xbox 360 retails for $299 for a basic package, and $399 for the premium package.

This isn't the first such case of a Grinchlike dupe job. Earlier this month, The Register reported that a UK gamer was the winner of a similar dubious scam, ousting the buyer out of 470 pounds ($817) for a photo of an Xbox 360. In the item's description, after all the specs and information of the system, was the disclaimer (see picture) that the auction was actually for a photo of the Xbox 360. Ouch.

There's no word on whether either of these transactions actually went through.

Needless to say, a hearty caveat emptor goes out to anyone purchasing an Xbox 360 via online auction sites this holiday season. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but $600? We think not.

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