BBB warns of gaming console scams as PlayStation 5 remains in high-demand

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A PlayStation 5 is one of the most coveted gifts this holiday season and scammers are taking notice.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky issued a nationwide warning about scammers promoting fake deals on high-priced gaming consoles.

News 2 spoke with Aaron Hurling, Manager of the GameStop in Nashville West. He said they can’t keep up with the demand for certain gaming consoles right now, especially the PS5.

“It’s the biggest holiday item right now. I think the low stock and high demand is creating a craze, and we are trying to keep up with it at the moment. These systems are doing things that we have not seen in the console generation. It’s not just the speed of these systems, it’s the extra accessories that come with it.”

The BBB said online purchase scams are up 41% compared to last year because consumers are willing to pay more money for hot-ticket items like the PlayStation 5.

Hurling said a PS5 will cost you a little more than $500 with tax, and he would not recommend spending more than $600 for the system. He said consumers need to stay alert for red flags when shopping online.

Remember, this is a nationwide scam that happens daily across the country. News 2 spoke with a victim of the scam in Massachusetts.

Zackary Koehler runs a YouTube channel and said he was approached by a company called ‘Play Better’ via email. The company promised to deliver the PS5 before its official launch.

“They said they wanted to send me a free Play Station 5, and all I had to do was pay for shipping. And I just have to unbox it and promote their website so people will buy Play Station through their website when it drops.”

As a content creator and avid gamer, Koehler jumped at the opportunity, but did notice a red flag.

“They said it would be $100 dollar shipping. I was struck by that. I was like ‘Whoa!’ But, they said it’s going to be overnight due to the weight, it’s a heavy product. I said okay, overnight 100 bucks is better than paying $100 when it comes out, ya know?”

Koehler paid the company $100 on PayPal and waited for the product to arrive. It did not come overnight as promised, but when the package arrived, he went to unbox it for his YouTube channel.

“I unbox it, and it’s this little toy PlayStation, but they put it inside a real PlayStation box. So, it looked so legitimate at first! The next day, I go to email them back, and the email doesn’t even exist anymore. So, they must have deactivated it as soon as they got my money.”

Koehler told News 2 he felt a rush of emotions when he realized he got scammed for a product he wanted so badly.

“I was so upset, right when I saw it was not white, it was a gray little square. That’s when I knew this is not right. I was heartbroken.”

He told News 2 he won’t be buying his PlayStation 5 online.

“I don’t even want Walmart to ship it to me. I want to be able to see the PlayStation in my hands and buy it at a store. I don’t trust that right now because this really shook me up. If you get an email make sure it’s actually from PlayStation, not a side company. Especially if they are asking for money.”

You can always report a scam to the Better Business Bureau here through their Scam Tracker.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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