Xbox Series X, PS5 preorder scams boom as release nears

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X (Image credit: Microsoft)

The PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S make their arrival this November, on track to deliver the next major performance leap and ushering in a new generation of console gaming. Both Sony and Microsoft pushed extensive preorder campaigns in the lead-up to launch, with high demand selling out stock in seconds, now proving challenging to lock down systems. The preorder process has already proven messy, and a recent surge in scams appears to be capitalizing on the FOMO as launch looms.

The past week has highlighted various scams centered around Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, looking to squeeze cash from unsuspecting buyers waiting on preorders. Reported cases saw individuals posing as third-party retailers, leaving a select few out of pocket just days from each console's respective launch date.

One case saw an email posing as Amazon in Australia, warning users their preorder had been delayed to early 2021 due to "Sony not delivering the agreed amount of stock." The incident even had outlets like PressStart AU fooled, later revising their coverage and raising awareness of the tactic.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

UK-based retailer GAME has also warned buyers of potential scams, including one now-suspended Twitter account, collecting customer payment details. Reports have also highlighted an unofficial website posing as the retailer, aiming to scam users yet to secure preorders for next-generation consoles.

"We have been made aware of a fake 'GAME' Twitter account that is responding to customer tweets and encouraging customers to provide alternative card payment methods for pre-orders of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox console," the company stated via Twitter on Tuesday. "We would like to reassure you that we will never ask for your payment details over social media. We are working with Twitter and relevant authorities for action to be taken against this account."

The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 remain hot commodities as launch nears, with demand stripping stock from online retailers and limited preorder availability set to continue through 2021. We're tracking the latest on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders, if you're still on the lookout. But it's important to stay alert when online, ensuring you know who you're speaking to while keeping personal information out of the wrong hands.

Stay aware of suspicious phone calls, emails, or text messages throughout the launch — and in everyday life — only presenting personal information through trusted channels. Never act directly from unverified emails. Visiting any retailer's website on your own accord will provide many of the essential order updates required. And if you need to contact a retailer, keep an eye out for tactics used to deceive unwary buyers in our digital age.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.