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Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Example of the Empty Box Scam

Hello, Dear Readers!

A while back, I warned you of a scam on the Second Life Marketplace, one which I call the "empty box scam."  Today I decided to name some names (well, one name, anyway) and post an example of this exploit.

If you go to https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Elvira-Mesh-Avatar/5861787 you will see the ad in the picture below.



If you look closely, you'll notice a few things that should tip you off to this particular scam.  For one thing, the beautiful woman in the picture is giving you the finger.  This is not one of the limited number of hand position morphs available to SL avatars.  Also, her skin and the level of detail shown is far beyond anything that is available in Second Life.

Reading on, we see some contradictory things in the item description.  In one place, it's described as a "full mesh avatar"...which it would have to be, to have that level of detail over the whole body.  But further on, the ad copy describes it as "hybrid mesh," a combination of a mesh head and a standard avatar body, which would enable you to wear regular clothing layers with it.

Are we beginning to get the idea that this might be "too good to be true?"  Good.

So next, we try to look up the "creator" of this wonder, a "KochSL."  Neither the old fashioned Search or the Web-based Search turns up any result for this name.  Clicking the KochSL link in his Marketplace Store also fails to open any profile.  Looks like KochSL has already flown the coop, leaving this one item and storefront behind.

Let's see if the images themselves lead to more clues.  Open images.google.com  Now click the little camera icon at the right of the search bar.  Right click and drag the image of the girl in the ad and drop it into the search box.

Well, well, well.  We see that the same image can be found on a hentai porn story site.  So this is not a Second Life avatar at all, but merely an image stolen from elsewhere on the web.

Finally, the price is out of line.  Other full mesh avatars are selling for around $L2,000 or so, but this one must be super special, huh?  Or why else would it be selling for $L15,000?  I'll tell you why...because it's a SCAM.  Buy this, and you'll get an empty box.

Here are a few bits of advice for newcomers contemplating expensive purchases to make them "instantly beautiful" in Second Life.

  • Don't spend more than $L2,000 for ANYTHING, and preferably a lot less, until you have been in SL for at least six months.  By that time, you should have an idea of how SL works, and be able to tell when someone is trying to snow you.
  • Don't believe you can make a single purchase and instantly overcome noobitude.  It takes time, and some wrong turns, and some effort on your part to select things that work well with each other and that, together, make the statement about yourself you want to make.  There's no one-size-fits-all, instant solution.
  • Don't spend big money for anything on the Marketplace unless you can see it in world first.
  • Don't buy any expensive items from people whose account is very new, and who don't have a completed Profile.  Such things are a clue that this person is a "throwaway" alt account.
  • And above all, remember:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  
Be careful out there!

9 comments:

  1. Have seen a lot of ads for these ... different types but lotz of money same with clothes..and sad people fall for them over an over an over .......

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  2. The page does not exist anymore. Probably reported by customers and LL took it down :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised, I flagged the page myself. I hope plenty of others did too!

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  3. it's back, now L$18,000...

    https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Elvira-Mesh-Avatar/6274154

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  4. it doesnt have to be big money there are tons of empty box scams at 99L 199L ect...the flagging system sucks they have nothing there for fraud and by the time lindens get back to work on monday the damage is done...they usually list on a friday and gone by monday

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  5. I never pay extortionate for ANYTHING, houses at stupid prices and other things. Even if the item IS genuine, that is purely blood sucking the poor consumer and not acceptable.

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  6. Linden Lab Fail ! I flag and report many MANY items and in report support mails they said me that the problem I need to talk with the people that is sold the ITEM^, that it is not LL problem. LL can block the IP if want

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