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!