[Update: The Salon story we referenced below was itself referencing Eric Smithis original story. That story was posted at his site, remodern.com. It contains all of the details, including how much the Mac community helped, how little the FBI and Secret Service were willing to do, and the reaction from Mac users all over. Itis a fascinating tale. - Editor]
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow-Mac knows! (cue maniacal laughter)
People do sometimes get ripped off when dealing with some folks on eBay and other sell-sites. You send your money but thereis really no way to insure the seller is really going to send what you thought you bought. The same is true if you sell through an auction site, especially if you are trusting; you post your goods and hope that the buyer doesnit somehow stiff you once youive mailed the item. Thatis what happened to Eric Smith, according to a Salon News article titled Student helps cops nap alleged swindler, but Mr. Smith didnit just write off his loss. According to Salon:
Eric Smith, a University of New Orleans student, initially had few clues to find the person who bought his Apple laptop on eBay with the bogus check. He had an e-mail address, cell phone number and the Chicago street address-- actually a mail drop -- where he shipped the laptop.
But by posting the scant details on message boards and chat rooms, Smith got responses from more than a hundred Macintosh users. They found the registration of the phone number and provided evidence that a Los Angeles resident had been similarly cheated out of two computers.
Smith used his girlfriendis eBay account to set up another sale, then told police in suburban Markham, where the computer was to be shipped.
That, apparently, was all the cops needed to be able to arrest the bad guy. It just goes to show you, at least in this case, that crime does not pay. Check out the full article at Salon.com.