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Scammers Are Using the Chip Shortage to Trick People

by Geek Insider Staff

The invention of the internet came with online scams. Henceforth, people have kept falling to similar techniques used by scammers. However, the current global shortage of semiconductors is making it a hassle to find hardware, and the buyers’ desperation is giving scammers a new lease of life. 

What is the Chip Shortage All About?

There is a computer chip shortage affecting users globally and manufacturers alike. Most modern devices now use semiconductors, and the deficit affects almost everything from washing machines, game consoles, and graphic cards. 

Generally, the chip shortage emanates from an enormous storm of factors, but the Covid-19 pandemic takes much of the blame. The shutdowns halted global production as manufacturing companies were closed to curb the spread. Now the resumption focuses on clearing the backlog of all the orders accumulated over that period. 

Another contributing factor to the chip shortage is the trade war between the biggest economies in the world. The trade restrictions that the U.S imposed on China affected manufacturing in the region, such as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which accounts for more than 54% of the global chip production for companies like AMD NVIDIA, and Apple. 

The broader aspect of climate change and global warming also contributed to the chips’ shortage. Fires in manufacturing plants in the U.S and Japan and the draught in Taiwan place further strain to supply. Now that we seem to be sliding back to the pandemic period and climate change is nowhere near recovery, the chip shortage shows no sign of letting up any time soon. 

Chip Shortage Influenced Demand

Although the pandemic led to massive telecommuting, the demand for the chips kept soaring. Most people working from home require an updated set-up and features to enhance computer speed and improve the quality of streaming services. As a result, the companies offering these services flourished and needed to increase their capacity adding more pressure on the already overwhelmed silicon supply chain.  

Unfortunately, the buyers have become desperate and are ready to pay ridiculous prices for old graphic cards than stay without any. Lack of this chip means you miss out on the best Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, GPUs, and CPUs. This fear of missing out (FOMO) has created an environment where desperate buyers will show interest in any news of new chip stock. In this case, the buyers may not exercise due diligence and make impulsive purchases, which the scammers want. 

Scammers Prey on Desperate Chip Buyers

Buyers know that the chip demand is high, and it would take minutes to deplete a stock for new graphic cards. Therefore, they scabble for any opportunity and fall prey to one of the oldest tricks that scammers use to take advantage of the desperation. 

This time, scammers are sending malicious emails pretending to be graphic card retailers such as Best Buy with a link to what they purport to be limited stock of consoles and graphic cards. What’s more, the scammer-retailer uses the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), making the opportunity even more alluring. In the end, you realize you’ve been scammed, which is disappointing, time-wasting, and costly. 

As the chip shortage is expected to continue, the scams are also likely to soar. Therefore, you should remain on the lookout for scammers trying to advertise graphic card sales online. The safest way would be to check the chip retailer’s website and complete the purchase peacefully.   

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