Laptop trickCon warning: laptops switched for potatoes

13 April 2006

A man working on a laptop

The new broadband deal is cheaper

Police have issued a warning after people who thought they were buying a cheap laptop were tricked into walking off with a rather different set of chips - a bag of potatoes.

The con has most recently been operating across the Luton area. Bedfordshire Police warned people to be wary of any deals that appeared too good to be true.

Inspector Stuart Tapping said: 'Everyone wants a bargain but the warning is "buyer beware". People really must use their common sense. If someone is selling a laptop which actually exists then the likelihood is it is defective or stolen.'

Targeted at the cashpoint

Police say they have received a number of complaints form people who were tempted by the offer of a cheap laptop as they withdrew money from a cashpoint. The conmen showed the person a laptop and offered it for sale for just GBP 200.

But when the victim hands over the money, the fraudster switches the case and the unsuspecting buyer ends up with a bag of potatoes. It's not until the salesman has gone that the unsuspecting customer realises they've been duped.

The conmen have also used bricks and bottles of water inside the case. Police urge anyone in the market for a cheap computer to be on their guard.

Five million people across the UK have been duped into responding to scams, a Which? study published in January found.

We also revealed that 28 million people - more than half the British adult population - have at some point been singled out by con-artists trying to fleece them out of thousands of pounds.