/* Filed under Music, Video Games */
If we follow in Frank Buchanan footsteps, we’d first have to be really bored and really bold, have a heat-sealing packager, and only two credit cards since we’d be from rural Minnesota… not exact money town. Oh and we’d have our mommy help us. Over the course of one year, Frank managed to scam local video game retailers through a purchase and return technique that netted him almost $20,000. If you’re not afraid to get caught or else can improve on his technique, follow these instructions:
- Purchase a game from a video game retailer. Frank chose Target, Wal-Mart, ShopKo and Kmart stores around his area and even stores from a different state for good measure.
- Take the game home and take out the game disc.
- Scan the disc art and print it on a blank DVD (Choose a CD if you really want to save yourself money, but a DVD is probably less likely to be caught if you properly color match the backside). It also depends on how good your art replication was. It’s unclear what Frank used, but if you printed on those CD stickers that you print and stick onto a CD it’s not going to look very good. Maybe invest in a good Lightscribe DVD printer drive or something.
- Replace the original game disc with your blank lookalike DVD in the game box.
- Use your handy heat-sealing packager (everyone’s got one of these right?) and reseal the game.
- Go back to the video game retailer you bought the game from and return the game. Have mommy drive you.
- Turn around and sell the real game disc on eBay. Do this 447 times for a nice $19,562 profit.
Sounds like a great scam right? Unfortunately, Frank’s credit card records showed that out of 192 game purchases, 183 of those were refunds. Real subtle, Frank. That, and the fact that one Target had gotten wise to Frank and called a police detective to investigate spelled Frank’s demise. When authorities obtained a warrant to search his home, they found 41 pieces of equipment he used for the fraud, records of every game purchase with return date and store, as well as opened video games with receipts attached to each. I suppose if you’re going to sell 447 games on eBay you’re going to need to be organized. Or you could have just destroyed each record once you got your money.
Hopefully we can learn from Frank’s mistakes and improve on the scam. First suggestion: cash only! I can do the math and I do see that he sold 447 games but only 192 were charged to his credit card. If you fill in the holes, he probably used cash to buy the other games. But c’mon, nothing should have gotten charged on the credit cards. That’s a paper trail for investigators to follow. Have you learned nothing from the movies? Second suggestion: don’t use eBay. It’s another paper trail. Why not go to your local swap meet or use Craigslist? Sure it’s still some evidence but it’s certainly less incriminating if you keep your listing discreet. Third suggestion: destroy your diary. To sell 447 games in a year means you’re selling more than one game a day so it’s a lot to remember. You’d probably vary your return dates so the salesperson won’t remember you so I understand the need for organization. But please, once you get your cash for the game, eliminate that record. You don’t need it anymore. That way investigators might not find out you made a $19,562 profit, hopefully it will only look like $195.62 or something. And maybe your sentence will be lighter if you get caught? Fourth suggestion: Keep Mom out of this. You’re 30 years old and still living in her garage, cut her some slack and keep her out of your misdeeds. Too bad for Mrs. Buchanan because she’s also been named a culprit in the scam and is being summoned to court.
Well I’m not going to be doing this any time soon (I’m all bark, no bite). But let me know how it works out for you. Or if you’ve got any improvements to make feel free to comment.
(source: Austin Post-Bulletin)