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iScam: Croydon shoppers tricked into handing over cash for mystery bag full of cheap tat

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SHOPPERS in the town centre were conned into handing over large sums of cash in an elaborate scam involving the promise of discounted iPhones and iPads. Trading standards officers and the police were called to a pop-up shop - called Electronics Direct - in North End last month when bargain hunters realised they had been fleeced and turned angry. Rogue traders set up in the unit in June, hanging glossy posters promising great deals on big name manufacturers like Apple, Sony and LG. Price lists of electrical goods - including digital cameras, laptops and games consoles - all at heavily discounted prices were placed alongside signs saying there would be no cash refunds. The shop attracted a large number of unsuspecting shoppers and, once inside, the doors were closed behind them and they were shown a sealed bag that, they were told, could contain an iPhone or an iPad. Having handed over, in some cases, more than £100, they were given a bag at the end of the sale only to find it contained very cheap electronic items, perfume and watches, but not the brand names they had been hoping for. One of the scammers, who had been operating in Reading a week earlier, ran off before police and trading standards officers arrived. The rest were then ejected from the premises, but no arrests were made. Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: "Consumers need to protect themselves first and foremost in these hard economic times, and be aware that all that glitters is not gold. "The expectation that the council or the police will be able to get their money back once they willingly throw it at these rogues to grab a bargain is not a reality. Once it goes, it'll probably never be seen again."

iScam: Croydon shoppers tricked into handing over cash for mystery bag full of cheap tat


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