Supply and demand is a simple concept, in which the suppliers supply what the demanders demand. It gets really ugly when the supply can’t meet the demand, because then you get third parties stepping in to the fill the gaps at wildly inflated prices. That issue is the lesser of two evils, however, because at least the product is there. These people are opportunists, not scammers.

Amazon is currently inundated with scammers who are selling phantom Nintendo Switch consoles for less than sticker price, and then vanishing into the ether while the console is “shipping” to the buyer. Once the buyer realizes they’ve been duped, the scammer is long gone.

Amazon of course rectifies the problem and refunds the buyer’s money, but the process takes a while, and the money is tied up during the process. The biggest red flag to watch out for is someone selling the Nintendo Switch (or any product, really) for below sticker price. You need to ask yourself why someone would willingly lose money when they’re in a position to make a decent profit. You also need to look at the shipping times, because these scammers use extended shipping times to disappear before the buyer notices anything is wrong.

The rest is common sense, like checking the seller’s feedback and seeing how long their accounts have been active. Scammers tend to use fresh accounts, which should make you suspicious from the get-go. Be careful out there. This problem isn’t going away any time soon.

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