“Lucky you, here’s a watch for cheap”!

"Lucky you, here's a watch for cheap"!
"The watch hasn’t been released to the market yet…"

From user Kojaxs on Livejournal, writing from Japan, who explains how he was approached to participate in a "watch scam":

So I was taking a walk near the station this evening, when a guy in a small sedan starts talking to me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying since I had my headphones on, but I assumed he wanted to ask me for directions. Being the nice guy that I am, I took off my headphones to hear the man out. The man wasn’t asking for directions after all, he was offering to give me a watch for free. His story went something along the lines of… He and his partner, the driver of the car, were promoters of some kind and they had just finished an event unveiling this new watch. Apparently due to some mix up they ended up with an extra watch, and if they took it back to their company they would get in trouble. So rather than throwing it away to avoid trouble, they figured they’d give it to some lucky passerby. While he was telling me this story, the guy took the watch out its gift bag and box to show me. He went on to say that the watch was worth around $5800, and he showed me a handmade booklet with a bunch of watches with pictures and their prices. I suppose this booklet was supposed to look like some sort of insider catalogue. I must have been making a surprised/confused face since the guy kept telling me how surprising this must be for me and how it was my lucky day. The guy kept repeating the short version of the story, adding things like how he didn’t want to exchange information, and that I could do whatever I want with the watch, but if I wanted to sell it to wait a few days since the watch had not been officially launched yet…

This scam is a technique to get someone to spend money on a cheap imitation watch. Supposedly, at least in a crook’s mind, it’s not an illegal act because the person being defrauded is not actually directly paying for a fake watch, so it’s not technically a fraud. Just more of a sleazy sales technique.

This reminds me of the prostitution scam I wrote about that took place in Las Vegas (How to run a fake prostitution "clip joint" in Vegas, Deceptology>>) where con artists set up a bordello in a massage clinic, with all the signs that it was a real whorehouse pretending to be a massage clinic, and when the customers spent lots of money and tried to claim their happy sex endings, bouncers tossed them out and claimed that the customers were mistaking the place for a brothel. No, see, we really aren’t a whorehouse!

And no, see, we weren’t selling them the watch, just asking for a donation!

Read the rest of the story: A Short Story About Fraud in Japan, Kozo’s Thoughts, Livejournal>>

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