Dad who tried to buy PS5 for son at Christmas conned in £500 Twitter scam
A dad has been conned out of £530 after falling victim to a PS5 scam on Twitter.
Bradley Tooth had been trying to get his hands on the latest PlayStation console to give to his eldest son as a special Christmas present after a challenging year.
But since PS5’s launch on November 19, the must-have item has been sold out in big brand stores across the UK, leading shoppers like Bradley to scour the internet for private sellers.
The initial price of the standard PS5 is £449 – though price will differ depending on the retailer. But, due to the high demand and lack of stock, the must-have consoles are now being sold privately online for prices reaching £1000.
After weeks of searching, the 34-year-old who works as a social media lead, spotted a console listed for sale – by someone believed was a trusted private seller – for £530 on Twitter.
“I saw this person that I’d followed on Twitter for a bit – and he was followed by a few of my friends as well,” Bradley said.
“He had 70-odd thousand followers – including verified Twitter users – 35 thousand YouTube subscribers, and I saw that he sold a couple of PlayStations the day before, so I thought – legit.”
After engaging in conversation on Twitter – where they engaged in small talk at first – Bradley said the private seller requested a bank transfer and provided his details.
“I looked his name up when he gave me his bank details and he did seem very legitimate,” Bradley, a dad-of-three from Bury, Manchester, said.
On Saturday, December 5, Bradley transferred the £530 into the sellers account but the seller claimed that the money still hadn’t been deposited into his bank account.
He said: “He kept saying, ‘No I’ve not got it, I’m going to sell it again – I want to sell this PlayStation so check with your bank.’
“I checked with my bank and money had gone so they said that it had left my account. It was in his account.
“He kept saying things like it will be a ‘bounce back transaction’ or his account had been ‘suspended’.
“I rang the bank first thing the next day and they said we can put a payment to trace on it but asked, ‘Do you think you’ve been scammed?’
“At this point, he was in back and forth communication with me.”
But Bradley then noticed that the seller had switched his public Twitter profile to private, deleted his Tweets and later relisted the item.
“You know when you press send on any transaction and you have that little sinking feeling – I almost knew instantly. As soon as I pressed the button – I almost knew instantly,” Bradley said.
“You just think to yourself, you’re not going to fall foul to it and that you know best.
“I feel stupid for doing it because I’ve been in social media for nearly 10 years and I see this stuff all the time and you think it’s never going to be you.”
The conversation on Twitter continued the following morning but the seller still claimed that no money had been transferred into his bank account.
Bradley said: “He practically accused me of being a scammer!”
“I told him, ‘You can transfer the money back, you can do whatever you want, but I’ve contacted my bank, I’ve raised it as a fraud and I’m going to contact the police’.
“It was at that point that he told me to f*** off and blocked me – as you’d kind of expect.”
Bradley contacted his bank, TSB. He was advised to contact Action Fraud, and was reassured that there was a high probability that he would be able to get his money back within a few days.
Speaking of TSB, he said: “The bank were bang on, instantaneous and reassuring.
“I didn’t really expect a lot to be honest. I thought they’d just say, ‘We’ll close the account and raise it as a ticket.’
“But they sent me what you’d expect to give your parents about watching out for online scams.
“They sent me some stuff on phishing to read and they gave me advice – that I already know and should have followed – like do everything on PayPal.”
As the incident wasn’t classed as an emergency, Bradley had to complete an Action Fraud form online and was informed it would take up to 14 days for the team to get back to him.
Bradley, who also coaches his son’s football team, was gutted that, even with his professional social media experience, he still fell victim to an online scam. And his concern now lies with other parents who could lose money too.
“Sometimes you see things happen to other people and you just don’t think. Or you think you can tell a kidder,” he said.
“It looked legitimate. I work in social media, I know when you release a new product to the market, you do genuinely give the product to influencers to do give-aways or to resell.
“I thought being in social for so many years and knowing the ins and outs you wouldn’t fall foul to it – but I did.”
Bradley admitted that it was largely the seller’s online following, content, social media engagement and the price of the console that made him believe he had found a trustworthy person to buy from.
“I thought if you were going to scam somebody – you’d scam at the price of what it’s going for on eBay like £700-£800 quid.
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“But maybe its the low-balling it that’s done for me. Maybe my greed of saving a couple of quid made it easier.”
Bradley believes that scams involving PS5 are the result of built-up hype, high demand and lack of supply.
“PS5 announced the device in March this year, so people like me have registered their interest,” he said.
“I’ve been to the shopping centres. It launched over a month and not one of the retailers that you would expect to buy the product from has it.
“It’s a product everyone wants for Christmas but no shop has got it. They’ve got to do something about it.”
Bradley’s message to other parents who are desperate to get their hands on a console for their children before Christmas is to simply be patient.
“I would never usually spend this level of money on a Christmas gift but I thought my son had his birthday party cancelled because of Covid, he’s not seeing his friends, I can’t take him to football matches.
“You just want to do something above and beyond for them and the only thing he can do is play games with his mates online.
“I never had anything like that as a kid and I’ve worked hard to afford these things.
“My advice to parents would just be to wait until after Christmas, never buy from anyone off Twitter, use PayPal and be protected that way, and keep an eye on the stock checker from reputable shops.”
TSB have since refunded the money in full.
Bradley describes them as having been ‘amazing’ through the whole ordeal, and says he can’t thank them enough.