There are few things more frustrating than to have your scammed out of your well-earned cash by distant parties.
But that’s exactly what happened to one of our readers from Australia.
Readers may recall our story from several weeks ago where we reported on a fake site apparently offering desktop 3D printers at the clearly wrong price of US$35 each.
This nebulous online vendor basically copied text and images from an actual 3D printer manufacturer, Toybox Labs, who produce the “Toybox Printer”, designed for children. They are an actual company that sells a 3D printer package for kids that includes not only the printer itself, but also an app to control prints, library of printable 3D models and, of course, “printer food”, as they call it.
Currently they list the Toybox printer at US$349 or US$299, depending on which bundle you select. It’s an inexpensive 3D printer that does actually work and has been around for a while now.
But a fake site duplicated their marketing information and set up to collect payments for these printers at the stupefying price of US$35 each. Having looked at the site when it was still up, I can say that they did a very reasonable job of presenting what appeared to be an actual online vendor’s pages.
Unfortunately one of our readers was caught in the fake site. Reader Katie writes:
“I’m just reading your article about 3D printers and seems I’ve been scammed as I ordered 2 x printers for $80 over a month ago and have received nothing. Where do I report pls?”
There wasn’t much to do, as the site was folding up at that point and the money was long gone. Fortunately it wasn’t a great deal of cash, but it’s money nevertheless.
Katie provided evidence of her two-printer purchase, with actual (fake) confirmation from the (fake) reseller:
Of course, nothing more was heard from the vendor.
We do know that Toybox Labs caught wind of this particular scam and sought to shut it down, which happened a while ago.
While there’s nothing much that can be done about Katie’s situation, we can tell you about it. Here’s the truth of the matter:
There are inexpensive 3D printers available from actual vendors
There are scammers who will produce fake sites designed to separate you from your money
There is essentially nothing you can do after you’ve sent money to these fraudulent operations
It’s up to you to determine if the vendor you’re considering buying from is legitimate or not
And finally, the old saying is so applicable here: “if it is too good to be true, it isn’t true.”