Scammers Sell Plywood Wrapped In Black Tape As 50" Flat Screen

They cut a slit in the back of the wrapping and then the guy got nervous and said “I left something in the car,” and booked. What had appeared to be a 50″ flat screen TV was actually plywood wrapped in black tape.

A Florida man told WJXX that he almost got ripped off when two guys approached him on the street with what sounded like a great deal: a brand new 50″ LG flat screen still in its wrapping for only $500. But when he and his friends hauled it inside and cracked it open, it turned out to be a dummy, just wood wrapped in gaffer’s tape. It even came with a fake remote control, cardboard in bubble wrap.

The tipster says it was so professionally done it looked like it wasn’t the first time the guys had done it, or their last. They may strike again.

Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if two guys come up to you on the street trying to sell you a piece of electronics at a steep discount…. yeah, on one level or another, it’s probably sketchy.

Southside Man Believes He Was the Target of a Flat Screen TV Scam [WJXX] (Thanks to Justin!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Darkrose says:

    I wonder if that Plywood came with Monster Cables.

  2. NeverLetMeDown says:

    In other words “guy who think’s he’s getting a TV for cheap by buying stolen property gets ripped off.” My sympathy abounds.

  3. Greyhound says:

    Anyone who buys a 50″ TV from some random guys on the streets is just asking to get ripped off. Doesn’t anyone have common sense anymore?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Greed is the monster that clouds all common sense…or just takes the place of the common sense you’re supposed to have, but never got.

      • 67alecto says:

        The old saying is true – Honest people are almost impossible to scam.

        • YOXIM says:

          Honest people are especially easy to scam. Honest people assume everyone else is honest as well. Crooked people don’t trust anyone.

          My cousin once bought a phone book from a guy. Thought he was getting a laptop hahaha.

          • npage148 says:

            Naive people are easy to scam. Honesty is connected to nativity. I’d say I’m honest but not naive and would not fall for a TV scam. My sister on the other hand (who I consider honest) would ask to be 2 TVs and ask for a card to send her friends to them.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Nope. I’m honest but I’m not stupid, nor am I naive. I know where are less than honest people out there, and it’s my job to be honest about that and make sure I protect me and mine.

          • human_shield says:

            I’m honest, but I assume everyone else is not.

          • kobresia says:

            Yeah, what others have said; you’re describing an Evian person.

            Honest people aren’t necessarily trusting. They just tend not to let greed get in the way of morality, fair trade, and rational thinking. Their principles are simply not for sale for any seemingly “good deal” that might come along, they do not meet things that are too-good-to-be-true with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and they’ll refuse to take advantage of someone even if they could easily do so.

        • 24gotham says:

          Honest people would question the honesty behind how the seller came to have the TV and then not follow through out of a need to keep things honest.

    • craptastico says:

      i wonder if the random guy on the street had receipt checkers.

    • Bativac says:

      I happen to have been born and raised where this occurred, and the answer is no, nobody there has any common sense.

      • Darkrose says:

        Born and raised in Orange Park. Moved to Jax for a while, then back to Orange Park. I escaped last year, proving the 5 points light is NOT a black hole singularity.

        I love where I live now. 4 seasons. lots of color on the trees right now.

        • Bativac says:

          I lived away for awhile. Moved back 10 years ago and haven’t escaped yet. I give it another 2 to 3 years.

          In the meantime, I’ll keep selling electrical tape-covered plywood to local rubes.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      The original article says he at least had enough sense to ask to see the TV before forking over any money. Consumerist version is unclear on this, but the guy wasn’t actually scammed, just the “target” of a scam. He never gave them money; they split too early when they probably realized he wasn’t going to pay for a fake TV.

      Although he did end up with a bunch of heavy useless junk he needs to get rid of now. Also he let two scumbags into his house which wasn’t a smart move.

  4. Raekwon says:

    My less than intelligent friend bought speakers from some guy at a gas station. They were too good to be true and the guy actually was driving a white van. Turned out they were fake knockoff Chinese speakers that are completely worthless. We told him it was a scam at the time but he was so set on buying them we gave up.

    • shepd says:

      Those can be a good deal if you talk the guy WAY down on price (They will if you hardball them, since $10 of profit and getting rid of a pair beats no profit and being stuck with another pair of crappy speakers that are hard to sell). While they don’t sound great, they’ll do for a basement/workshop. :-)

      • Puddy Tat says:


        Are you an idoit? these speakers are worse then $1 earbuds you get for your iPOD!

        • Arcaeris says:

          I had a coworker who bought a sound system from the back of a van, and said it was the best thing he’d ever heard. He still used it like 5 years later.

          I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a scam, and if he liked the sound quality, who am I to judge?

    • JayDeEm says:

      I used to get approached by those guys all the time, and it always was a white van, and it happened once in a gas station. My most memorable encounter was the time they tried to sell me a pair of speakers as I was walking to my car after work at a now defunct electronics store. They tried to tell me that the store accidentally gave them 2 pairs of speakers I knew we didn’t sell.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I’ve been approached with the same scam. Their story was that they were installers who had a canceled order but needed to make the sale to keep their bonus. They actually did look fairly legit — they wore collared shirts with name tags, had a professional looking invoice sheets, etc.

        I googled the name of the speakers & receiver they were selling and in every instance, the brand was linked to scams. I can’t remember the manufacturer’s name but it sounded suspiciously like a high end brand.

    • mistersmith says:

      Always a white van! A crew of mulleted rednecks used to try this act in front of the Circuit City where I grew up…I’d come out with a CD, they’d screech up to me in the parking lot with some surround sound, TV, or whatever in a box at an amazing deal. I always told them the same thing: hell yeah, that sounds great, let’s do it, just open the box and show me all the pieces are in there and we got a deal. Right about then they’d look at me like I’d wasted THEIR time, and drive around the corner.

  5. MDSasquatch says:

    Sad thing is that you can actually get a new 50″ Panasonic Plasma at COSTCO for around $500 and it comes with a 2-year warranty.

    Even the scammer’s price seemed a bit high to me.

    • nybiker says:

      Actually, $619.99 after $70 off.|90607|2341&N=4047300%204294967278&Mo=3&No=2&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=

      They do have a Panasonic 42″ 720p Plasma for $479.99 after $45 OFF.

      Either way, you’re getting a better deal from Costco than you are from a guy on the street.

      • midwestkel says:

        That TV from Costco is not even 720p like they say. 720p is 1280×720 and that TV is 1024×768. That plywood has more pixels.

    • common_sense84 says:

      Plasma is trash. You ever see it side by side in the store next to an LCD?

      The plasma has fuzzy edges. The LCD has crisp sharp edges on what it displays.

      • phillip says:


      • photoguy622 says:

        That’s not true. High-end Plasma sets generally outclass even the best LCD sets.

      • Shadowfire says:

        Care to try again?

      • BigDave says:

        See it side by side “in a store”??? Wow – you must really be an expert!
        TVs have a store setting where their brightness/contrast is turned way up, giving a false sense of the actual picture.

        I bet you fell for the old Monster Cable store display scam where the tvs hooked up with non-Monster cables used damaged cables to give the false impression of Monster’s superiority.

        Plasma had better black levels [in most cases], doesn’t dim off-axis like LCD, and costs less. While I don’t believe in the whole 3D trend, plasmas are far superior.

        • framitz says:

          Not sure who you are responding to, but it isn’t me.

          I was in the TV and video business for many years and know the tricks sales folks use, that’s why I adjust the settings myself for comparison. The store didn’t like it at all, but they wanted a sale.

          I damn sure know better than to fall for any monster cable ripoffs.

      • framitz says:

        I don’t think so.

        I saw plasmas side by side with LCD…A lot of both all in the same setting, same lighting, same video content.

        I bought the Plasma and have had no regrets. It’s hard to beat a THX certified picture.

  6. Hoss says:

    “it’s probably sketchy” Probably?

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    Maybe they can sell this as a self-auctioning art object that perpetually sells itself on eBay.

  8. larrycl says:

    When I was a student in Boston, I used to get guys pulling up to me in a van trying to sell me a set of speakers.

    • Scrutinizer says:

      Came to post the same thing. In the 1980’s they would stop and ask if you knew if some one was home and then offer to sell speakers cheap, they’d even have a newspaper ad for the same think at a much higher price. Must work if they are still doing it.

    • hotcocoa says:

      Just happened to me last weekend – some dudes came speeding up to me in the parking lot, asking me if I wanted a free home stereo system. At first, I thought they were trying to steal the stuff I just bought. I stared at them for a second and then hopped on my bike and rode off. Sketchy to the Nth degree.

    • kaptainkk says:

      And it was always a white van with no windows on the side! Happened to me in my teen years many of times. I never responded to them and always drove off.

  9. scoosdad says:

    I’m glad it was gaffers tape. Duct tape would have left such a residue on the plywood.

  10. deejmer says:

    Wow….Florida. What a surprise.

  11. Murph1908 says:

    “People will believe a lie if they want it to be true, or if they are afraid it is true.”

  12. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Wow, really? Ridiculous. Hope he learned his lesson.

  13. Buckus says:

    Awhile back a guy knocked on my door and tried to sell me some steaks. “Good steaks” he said. Whether they were or they weren’t, I wasn’t buying from some random guy trying to sell food door-to-door.

    • Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

      They always have an excuse or two. “The lady wasn’t home”, or “They packed too many for my deliveries today. They will just go to waste. I’ll give you a real good deal”. I hate those steaks, they always taste spoiled.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        One said if I buy all the meat in the freezer for $150, I could have the freezer for free! (I think he was going out of business LOL) I almost did it just for the mega awesome freezer he had.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago. The prices were pretty good at it “looked OK” (not that it means anything). I just didn’t like the idea of buying meat from a random guy on the street.

      • framitz says:

        My wife fell for this crap. She was putting the meat in the freezer when I came home for lunch. The ‘salesman’ hadn’t left yet….

        He left with his product when I canceled the order.
        He gave me a ration of crap (or tried to) but decided it was better to cancel the order, return our cash, take his crap and leave.
        Probably had something to do with threatening to call the police.

  14. chiieddy says:

    Another (local) scam is the scammer stands outside Sears and offers an amazing deal on a TV. He takes your cash and disappears into the store. Meanwhile, you’re left waiting for your TV.

    This scam is CONSTANTLY showing up in our local police log. I’ve seen it at least 5 times in the past year since I moved to town.

  15. wrbwrx says:

    I am confused by this article as written by Ben:
    1. Scammers did NOT sell him anything, as no money was exchanged.
    2. Man “Believes” he was ripped off? Did the man set out to buy a plywood wrapped in black tape?

    I had to read the source to understand that the chump did not get chumped, but instead stole some dudes art project.

  16. kylere1 says:

    Buying clearly stolen goods makes you a scumbag.

  17. Froggmann says:

    In other words don’t buy electronics out of the back of a truck.

  18. MattO says:

    at least it wasnt that chinese drywall…

  19. CBenji says:

    I much prefer to see my tv up and running before I will give anyone money for it you can bet your sweet butt on it.

  20. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I think it’s sad that the best case scenario for this transaction would entail the OP buying a stolen TV.

  21. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    In Florida, plywood is more valuable than LCD televisions, especially during hurrican season.

  22. junip says:

    There used to be guys hanging around across the street from my college, next to the dorms, trying to sell “computers” for a couple hundred bucks. They’d have some big box that looked like it could hold a computer tower in it. Anyone with half a brain knew they were scamming and the box was full of bricks or something.

  23. RobThy says:

    I know TVs are getting lighter and lighter, but I’m not aware of any as light as a thin piece of plywood.

  24. aaron8301 says:

    Did they put bricks in the box? I’ve handled a lot of 50″ TV’s and a lot of plywood. Unless it was a full 4’x8′ sheet of hardwood plywood (which it wasn’t, since it was cut to simulate a 50″ TV), there’s no way it would weigh as much as a 50″ TV.

    And the OP bought it from a stranger on the street. Really? REALLY?

  25. Jimmy37 says:

    You last sentence says it all. No sympathy.

  26. Nick says:

    I thought the new season was so good…