Update, 5/24: “Really Care2018,” another China based seller, has reviews dating back to 2018. They are now selling this computer for $259.99 with fulfillment by Amazon. The code to make it free does not work for this seller, but they will benefit from the scam explained below, as this is now the number one selling computer from Amazon and has 4.3 star ratings, despite the actual reviews being for a quilt rack!
The burner seller account based in China without fulfillment by Amazon, “haikouyangsushangmaoyouxiangongsi1,” is still offering it for free after the code listed in the original post below, which will help keep this as the top selling computer, at least until Amazon bans their account due to not fulfilling orders.
“Really Care2018” is also selling another mini computer fulfilled by Amazon for $199.99 on a hijacked listing. This is ranked at the number 7 selling mini computer on Amazon, but the reviews are for an N64 HDMI converter! The product is also being sold by “haikouyangsushangmaoyouxiangongsi1” without Amazon fulfillment, likely also for free to get the sales volume up.
Originally posted on 5/23:
5 years ago I wrote about a scam on Amazon where a 3rd party seller was pretending to sell Ecco shoes for $14.99.
Now, 3rd party sellers are back with a new scam and codes for free items.
Over the past several days I’ve received dozens of tips from readers about this mini computer on Amazon for free with code: UZT5FJXJ
No, you’re not getting a computer for free.
Your first hint that something is off can be found by clicking on the seller name:
Which brings you to the seller review page. Unsurprisingly, the seller is brand new, with an absurd seller name that will never have name recognition, has no reviews or feedback, and is based in China, where many of these Amazon scams originate:
Scammy sellers often find an old item on Amazon that has good ratings and is out of stock. They then add a variant and work on editing the listing title, category, and pictures while retaining the original product’s ratings. Essentially they hijack the old listing.
Sellers like this open a burner seller account and make a crazy promotion so that people buy it, the rankings go up, and it becomes a best seller:
You can also still see the old product name if you click on customer reviews, though it shows the new image from the seller:
Most people don’t read the actual reviews, which aren’t for the computer at all. They just look at the top-line ratings and if it’s at least 4 stars assume they are getting a quality product.
Typically in these cases nothing is ever shipped and the order is cancelled, though sometimes a fake tracking number will be used so that it’s marked as shipped.
People will complain to Amazon and the seller will get banned, which is fine as the seller used a burner account.
However the item is now a top seller with great reviews. The seller now uses their real account to sell their item at full price, and is able to reap the benefit of good ratings from a top-selling item.
Another benefit is that the sellers now have your full name and shipping address and can use them for a brushing scam. They can potentially use these in the future to open up an account and write fake reviews in your name.
Sellers don’t get that when orders are fulfilled by Amazon, but these orders are fulfilled by 3rd party sellers. That’s why we rarely post deals that aren’t fulfilled by Amazon.
The same thing happened a few weeks ago with a free lightning cable charger.
A brand new seller from China with an absurd seller name was giving them away for free with a code, but they never actually shipped. Orders were all cancelled after several days. The reviews for the product were for glue. However the product shot up to the top selling lightning cables on Amazon. Now an established seller from China is selling lightning cables on the listing at the regular price, with the benefit of good ratings and the bump from when it was the top selling cable.
What other 3rd party scams have you come across?a free trial of Amazon Prime. A prime trial is also free with Amazon Family (which also gets you up to 20% off diapers among other benefits) or Amazon Student. EBT/Medicaid Cardholders can save on Prime Membership here.