A PS5 and Xbox Series X restock scammer tried to rip me off — here’s what happened

PS5 and Xbox Series X on a table
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This week I received an unsolicited Twitter message from a PS5 and Xbox Series X restock tracking account. At first, I thought little of it. After all, I’ve been tracking restocks for over a year and assumed it was merely a fellow stock tracker giving me a tip-off about an upcoming drop or maybe someone looking to share war stories. 

Alarm bells started ringing when I opened the message and was greeted with a simple question, “Hey want to purchase a PS5 or Xbox?” I instantly clocked this as a scam because I studiously follow one of the fundamental rules of next-gen console restocks: all Twitter sellers are scammers

I’ll repeat that mantra for the people who need to be told twice, anyone on Twitter (or any social media platform) offering to sell you a PS5 or Xbox Series X is a scammer. No exceptions. It doesn’t matter if the account is verified or has a large follower count. Scammers purposeful use these methods to appear legitimate in order to prey on the uninformed and the desperate.  

Now while I could have dismissed the messaged, not engaged, and reported the account to Twitter (@XboxPS5Alerts for those looking to avoid a confirmed scammer), I instead decided to play along in order to see how these scammers operate firsthand. I appeared initially skeptical asking the account if “this was legit?”, which was something of a wasted question, of course, the scammer wasn’t going to admit to their true intentions. 

After confirming I was interested in purchasing a console (although the scammer never actually checked which machine I wanted to buy) I was asked to provide a shipping address and email. I quickly typed out a bogus email, and give the scammer the address of the Empire State Building. After getting these phony details the scammer proceeded to push me for payment. 

The scammer asked me to pay $500 by either Zelle, Cashapp or Bitcoin and stated that I’d have my console by December 19. Conveniently in time for the holidays! I tried to play on the scammer’s sense of moral decency by declaring they had “made my little boys Christmas” but they quickly rebuffed this attempted guilt trip and wished myself and my family a Merry Christmas before pushing for payment once more. 

At this point, I think the scammer was starting to suspect I was aware of their true intentions, and when I made a point to ask “is my address definitely okay” they clearly figured out that I had no intention of sending over even a single cent. I received some rather creative abuse and was promptly blocked. I guess they're not so bothered about the merriment of my family’s Christmas after all. 

Don’t let a PS5 and Xbox Series X scammer ruin your holidays  

ps5 and halo xbox series x on wooden tv stand

(Image credit: Tom Pritchard/Tom's Guide)

The PS5 and Xbox Series X are still extremely hard to buy for regular retail price, and at this time of the year, there are plenty of desperate shoppers looking to score a next-gen system for holiday gifting. Unfortunately, that’s a dream combination for scammers. 

Currently, scammers are targeting people who have previously posted about the console, in the hopes of finding an uninformed mark. While my personal scammer had the misfortunate of picking someone very aware of their tricks, it’s easy to see how someone not deeply entrenched in the restock world could be fooled. 

The scammer who contacted me seemed pleasant (until their last message at least) and reassured me that they were genuine when I appeared skeptical. I could very easily see a desperate parent who’s been unable to find a console restock making payment without thinking about what they were doing first. Don’t let that be you, do not even engage with restock scammers. Block them and report them. 

You should also be very aware that scammers use all sorts of crafty methods to appear legitimate. From giving you a choice of payment method to put your mind at ease to even hacking verified accounts with large followings. The scammer who contacted me has nearly 30k followers and even had the gall to put “don’t get scammed by Fake Pages” in their Twitter bio. Scammers have got very good at making people think they’re being contacted by a legitimate seller. 

Here at Tom’s Guide, we desist restock scammers and scalpers. That’s why we are committed to helping people get hold of a PS5 or Xbox Series X from a secure retailer at a fair price. Make sure to bookmark our PS5 restock and Xbox Series X restock hubs, these comprehensive guides are updated daily with all the latest restock information from legitimate retailers only. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.