Imagine the excitement of opening a gift and finding it’s something you wanted. Now think about how crushed you’d feel when the gift wasn’t in the box.
That’s exactly what happened to a little boy in Massachusetts this Christmas. Nine-year-old Scott Lundy thought he received a PlayStation 4, but when he opened the box to set up the console, him and his family found the box was stuffed with a block of wood signed with a crude drawing and message.
What began as “the best Christmas ever” ended with Scott upset and sad, his family told NBC affiliate WHBD.
Scott’s dad Brian Lundy believes this could be a series of pranks happening, as he said they know of another family who got the same wooden block in their PlayStation 4 box.
As unlikely as it sounds, this sort of thing isn’t uncommon. Scammers have been known to swap out gadgets with wood or other similarly weighted items before selling the boxes online or in parking lots. In another variant, someone buys the item from a retailer, removes the packaging and replaces it with something of a similar weight. They return the box to the store, hoping an employee will give a refund without peeking inside.
Worse still, the box could be restocked, and it’s hard to get your money back after the scam. Retailers may think you’re trying to get something for free and refuse to let you trade in the decoy.
The Lundy family successfully exchanged the wooden decoy for a real PS4 at the Target store where they purchased it. Plus they were given a $100 gift card and game from the retailer.
But their story is a good reminder to inspect items for signs of tampering before buying them.
Fraudsters can be pretty creative this time of year, especially when people are spending more than usual and rushing to get things done. Don’t let the chaos interfere with common sense: You should keep tabs on your credit card and debit card accounts and do your best to make thoughtful spending decisions.
Credit.com contributed to this report.