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Long time (maybe twenty years) ago I read about a fascinating scam. The scammers were announcing a totally cool sex toy (maybe early VR, don't remember), but they never intended to deliver. Through clever marketing they managed to find enough potential customers who were asked to prepay a certain amount to finance production of the product (comparable to crowdfunding). When delivery day arrived, the scammers sent out letters to the customers with an apology that something went horribly wrong and the product could not be delivered. The letters included a bank cheque with a full refund, but the cheque said: "Refund for Sex Toy XYZ". As planned from the beginning, most customers were too ashamed to cash the cheque, so the scammers kept most of the money. Legally (?).

Sounds like a bit from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=379784

I don't know if that was a real scam. It was a bit of a throw away joke from the movie, 'Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels'.

The guys need to raise money to repay a debt, and one of them presents this idea, which gets tossed out because it's gonna take too long for them to receive the checks.

It's much, much older than the movie reference. Embarrassing check scams are an old, tried and true scam. They were more popular backnin the days of physical chain letters.

I just found that this scam even has an entry on Wikipedia:


This is something which is discussed in Guy Ritchie's _Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels_ anyway.

If this actually happened, it would still be an illegal fraud. You would need to prove that was the intent all along, which would be difficult. But still illegal.

Isn't that just like an average KickStarter campaign?

Why not just deposit the check in an ATM or with an image

I think this was not possible at that time. Bank business was a lot more personal back in the old days. People knew each other and you wouldn't want to be the one in the community being know for having ordered a sex toy.


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