PS5 scams targeting shoppers — what to look out for

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

With the PS5 sold out pretty much everywhere, and with the console selling for obscene amounts on eBay, would-be buyers may be getting a little desperate.

Scammers know this, and according to new research from security giant Kaspersky, they’re already taking full advantage. The company says it detected around 130 suspicious websites mentioning the word “PlayStation” in October alone, and that’s quickly ramping up – it’s about half the number of instances that Kaspersky had spotted for the rest of the year combined.

Scams were spread around the world, with no specific regions our countries being targeted, the researchers noted. For the most part, suspicious sites invited visitors to pre-order the PS5 via a prepayment, or by leaving personal information which would then be directly abused or sold on to other criminals.

Other PS5 scams were more obvious: any website offering to undercut the official RRP of a console that’s out of stock everywhere is simply not credible. Others, meanwhile, were a bit more sneaky: rather than claiming to have PS5 stock, the scam websites would purport to be shipping PS4s at low prices, in a bid to make room for the new console. 

But suffice it to say, whichever version of the scam is presented, the results are the same: your data and/or money will be stolen, and you’ll be no closer to having a PS5 underneath your TV.

“We would like to remind users that if something on the internet looks too good to be true, then it is probably a scam," said Kaspersky’s security expert Tatyana Sidorina.

“Messages about sales and pre-orders should be checked on reliable sources and we advise against clicking on links from suspicious emails or messages on messengers and social networks. It is also recommended to install a security solution with up-to-date databases of phishing and spam resources."

While Kaspsersky made no specific reference to the Xbox Series X being targeted in a similar manner, it stands to reason that criminals will be trying their aim there, too. As with the PS5, trying to pre-order an Xbox Series X has been a frustrating experience for would-be early adopters.

If you’re still looking for that elusive console, we’re here to help. We’re keeping track of where to buy the PS5 and where to by the Xbox Series X safely, so be sure to bookmark those pages if you’re in the hunt.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.