Scam Alert: Invisible prim over vendor (now with fastpay!)
Invisible Prim over Vendor (Now with Fastpay!)
Affects: Consumer and Merchants
Modus Operandi: Scammer places invisible prims overtop of legitimate vendors. When customer clicks on vendor to pay, they actually be clicking the invisible prim and paying THAT not the vendor. Customer pays their money, but doesn't get their item and is now out money and often can't figure out why. They may end up paying the invisible prim trying to pay the vendor a few times thinking it didn't work. Then when the designer gets an angry message demanding the product the customer payed for and a refund for the extra cash, they won't even know what happened because they never got paid. And the scammer laughs all the way to the bank.
How it goes down: The scammer shows up at a larger location, typically a mall or large main store. They place invisible scripted prims over top of the screen or main part of the vendor. The casual shopper obviously cannot see the invisible prim covering the vendor, and thus is generally unaware of its existance. They then leave and let the prims do the dirty deed of collecting transactions. This is an old scam, but has been updated to include a 'fastpay' function and has seen some renewed activity.
Seeing through the Scam (Consumer):
In the Secondlife Menu, there is an option to 'Highlight Transparent'. Before you decide to pay a vendor, click that on for a second and make sure there is nothing transparent sitting overtop of the vendor you want to pay. Also, if you've got the mouse tips on, you can 'hover' your mouse point over an object and it will tell you the object's name and owner. Make sure when you hover it over the middle panel of the vendor ( where the picture is) that the owner corresponds to the name of the designer. I do both. Remember, its good to be paranoid.
Damage control: If you pay a vendor and nothing comes out. DON'T pay it again. Especially for expensive purchases like Skins. Mail the creator and let him or her know that the vendor isn't working properly and ask if they received the payment you made.
Seeing through the Scam (Merchant):
Mall owners especially should be vigilant for this one. If you do not know every single vendor in your mall ( I make a point to meet each new vendor and speak with them.) make sure you've got your group for land and vendors properly set up and enable auto return to make sure that any prims that aren't supposed to be there get taken out of there, pronto. This also keeps your prim count down and can keep some forms of greifing lower. For merchants with individual stores, be sure to check your land regularly for stray prims or enable auto return to prevent the unwanted prims from being there. You can also set your land to no rez, but that can annoy customers who want to try stuff on/out right away. Since this is a passive scam, its a little easier to combat, but make sure you, or someone you trust checks your land regularly for stray prims and get rid of them.
Avatars known to use this scam:
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