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MerchantWhenever a new gotta-have-it electronic device is released it seems inevitable that bottom-dwelling slimy scammers sprout up to take advantage of those unfortunate souls either unable to snag a preorder or too ignorant to recognize when they're about to be taken for a financial ride.  In this case we're looking at a European group that promises Sony PlayStation 3 consoles for Christmas in exchange for calling a toll phone number, but since the PS3 won't be released in Europe until next year, what's really happening here is up for grabs.  GameSpot has the story.

Brits desperate enough to get their hands on the next-gen console ahead of its official European release date in March will find themselves with an approximately £7.50 (around $14) phone charge for the four-and-a-half-minute call. The female voice on the recording goes on to inform potential customers that this phone line service will give British consumers possibly their only chance to get their hands on a PS3 for Christmas--and explains the situation to anyone who doesn't already know. "The official release date for the PS3 is November 17, 2006," the recording says. "But the official release date in the UK has for some reason been pushed back to March 2007. With the PS3 being so popular, the supplies the shops do get are expected to have been preordered and sold out on the same day."

This holiday season please remember not to let your wild console anticipation blind you to the efforts of these kinds of scams.  Only purchase items from reputable stores and sources; don't be led in by promises of instant availability when supply is limited or an amazing deal on PS3s that come from the back of someone's truck out in the parking lot.  Protect yourself, be smart, and play safe.

(via Fark)