They lurk around shopping centers and box stores....Shady people, usually young men (but sometimes young women) in vans and SUVs.
They look at you and lick their chops as they pull over to you and make you a deal you just can't refuse; a brand new set of surround sound speakers and subwoofer for $200.
And this wasn't just any run of the mill surround sound set-up. This one is from a super boutique audiophile brand, renowned all over Europe; Olin Ross. Only the super snobs can afford this stuff. But by some strange ordering fluke, today is your lucky day and they just happened to have this Olin Ross surround sound thing that retails for $5,000 in a high-end audio shop, but if you act quick and run to the ATM and pull out $200 cash, you can get this thing off their hands and be the envy of everyone on your block...
Who is Olin Ross? you ask?
He/She then whips out a glossy brochure and even reviews in an audiophile magazine. And you begin to salivate at the superlative filled testimonials and reviews by audio experts who were left breathless by the performance of this thing.
So....You give them $200 and even an extra $20 for beer money because they were so cool. You race home and begin to set this thing up.
And it's right there you find out you've been had.
You got speakers, but really crummy and tinny sounding ones. The subwoofer is particleboard slapped together with glue. The volume control has static and overall, it's garbage. The magazine with the glowing reviews? Fake. The brochure? Fake. The company web address on the brochure? Fake too. And you wouldn't have bought this at all if you knew what it really was.
You my friend, have fallen victim to the White Van Speaker Scam, aka "The Speaker Guys"
It's not a new scam, it goes way back into the early '70s. And it isn't just speakers or even exclusively white vans the cons use. But any fishy sounding person who sells any kind of stuff from the back of a van or SUV in the parking lot of a Walmart, Home Depot or a supermarket. I have heard many stories from people who got screwed already so when I was first approached by these cons in the '80s, I was able to fend them off (but not easily, they just don't know the meaning of give up.) But in recent years, the scam has really been on the rise.
You can find more details here.
And it's not just in America. You can find these scammers all over the world.
Protecting yourself is easy; Buy A/V equipment only from reputable dealers and not from vans.
Here's a list of some of the brands associated with this scam. Also be aware many of these brands are also being sold on eBay as well. So buyer beware: