Big list of known pinball Scam web sites. (2024)

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Here are some ways to spot a scam site. Not all scam sites will bear all of these identifying attributes, but they generally have one or more of them.

The prices on scam sites tend to be significantly lower than you see anywhere else. This helps attract potential marks thinking they could get a deal, and pressures them to act fast before they miss out on it (aka FOMO--Fear of Missing Out).

Poor English
Scam sites usually feature content written by a non-native speaker. Therefore, there may be odd word choices, unusual sentence structure, incorrect verb tenses, and so on. If you read it aloud, it just sounds wrong.

Stolen Content
Often times, scam sites will lift content from websites of legitimate pinball distributors. For whatever reason, they seem to favor some of these sites:

Sometimes if you do a search for a few sentences that you find on the scam site, either on individual product listings or an about page, you will see results of those same sentences found on other (and sometimes legitimate) websites.

Stolen Images
Scam sites don't take their own photographs of games. They pretty much always steal them from other sources such as legitimate distributors or private seller ads. Use google's reverse image search or to do a reverse image search on the images. If you see results pop up elsewhere, it's very likely that the images were stolen.

Note that sometimes you might not get a reverse image result, but that doesn't mean the image hasn't been stolen--just that it hasn't been indexed by the search engine. If a reverse search fails, try searching older ads, restoration guides/threads, game room threads, or various other places where game images may be posted. Sometimes if you search for images just based on the game title, it may show up in search results, especially if the image on the scam site was altered, cropped, recolored, rotated, or otherwise altered in a minor way.

Domain Name Lookup
This is a bit more technical than the other red flags, but reveals a lot more information.

If you are unfamiliar with how domain names work, this is a quick overview: in order to use a domain name, you must buy it from a domain name registrar. Ownership information is then added to the purchased domain name's record, which is called a whois record. This record shows who is in control of a domain name and how to contact them--this is information that is completely public. However, since most people don't want their private contact and billing information made public, you can mask it using private registration information provided by the registrar. So, any information sent to the masked contact information listed in the whois record will be forwarded to your real contact information.

To check the registration/whois details of a domain, you can visit any number of domain registrar sites, but I prefer to use because of the additional details that they provide.

The domain name used for a scam website is generally relatively new. Since these scams started appearing in late 2019, the creation date of the domain may be between late 2019 and early 2021.

Whois records may also contain contact information for a foreign entity, such as masked private registrar information provided by a company in China.

The nameservers listed in the record may also be from foreign companies, and may be based in places such as India or Pakistan. Additional technical info: Nameservers hold the routing information for the website domain, which directs the domain name to the server where the website resides. Normally, the nameserver is provided by the domain registrar or website host. If it's instead with a foreign 3rd-party, more often than not there's something fishy going on. A 3rd-party nameserver makes it easier for a scammer to pivot to a new web host if they get booted from an old one.

The hosting provider/server that is used to host the website might or might not be foreign. More often than not, it is based in the US since this is where the target audience is, and basic web hosting is really cheap here.

Hosting providers and some domain name registrars make it pretty easy to pay for services using various payment methods, and since they don't mail anything, a scammer can easily provide false contact info. So, a scammer can effectively remain anonymous.

Contact Information
If contact information is provided on the website, search for it in google and see what else comes up. Sometimes the same contact info will appear on other scam sites or scam warning sites.

Sometimes contact information will just be a phone number or whatsapp number. No legitimate retailer uses whatsapp. If it's a phone number, search for it on to determine what the phone carrier is. Beware of SMS-only carriers and (aka google voice).

Many of the scam sites have a whatsapp number and/or whatsapp chat box. Legitimate distributors do not typically have this.

Location Information
Sometimes the location information will be a legitimate pinball distributor/dealer or arcade. Use google maps and the street view feature to see the building at the address. Retail distributors usually have signage on their building, so if the signage doesn't match the name on the website, then the website might not be legit. Also, if the location doesn't have street view available, it may have been purposefully picked so that you can't see the building in street view. A random nondescript warehouse without signage can also be suspicious, especially if the street view image is only a year or two old.

Automated Scam Site Checking Tool is a tool you can use to check a website for some of the red flags that can help identify a scam site. It uses some of the identifying markers as described above, plus various others (such as other websites or the lack of websites that are linking to the scam site).

Note that automated tools shouldn't be trusted blindly, as they can be tricked by scammers as they change, update, and use tactics to help avoid detection.


Up until this point, this has been about the website itself. If for whatever reason you end up making contact with the scammer, here are couple things that would stand out:

Seeing a Game
Overall, a legitimate seller would typically invite and encourage you to see and play the game in person with no strings attached.

A scammer will likely come up with all sorts of excuses as to why you (or a friend/family member in the area) can't see a game in person. Excuses could include: it's currently somewhere else (at a different location or warehouse), it's being cleaned, it's on location and inaccessible, the business is closed during any proposed days/times, etc.

Sometimes a scammer will try to get you to pay some sort of deposit fee up front prior to letting you see any game(s) in person. They sometimes come up with all sorts of excuses as to why it's necessary (ie, to pay for staff) and/or that it's a standard practice (hint: it's not, and this is just another scam tactic to get you to give them money when it's clear you won't immediately click the buy button for a game on their website). However, as a minor note, making a deposit on a game is a legitimate practice in certain situations where you are specifically making a commitment to buy a specific game--just make sure it's a legitimate business and/or individual first.

Payment Methods
Most retailers will take just about any legitimate form of payment--credit cards, checks, cash, wire transfers. However, scammers don't want to run the risk of a reversed payment or a payment that can be tracked. So, they will request payment in the form of gift cards, bitcoin, and sometimes venmo/zelle or wire transfers. A legitimate seller will *never* request gift cards, and it's very unlikely they will request any form of crypto currency.

Pinball Terminology
Scammers are getting to know our hobby fairly well, and have started to become familiar with the terminology. However, they tend not to be familiar with some simple technical questions, concepts about maintenance, or generally having anything to do with repair or anything that has to do with opening a pinball machine or seeing what is inside of it. Note that this may change as they become more familiar with our hobby. But legitimate retailers generally know their products inside and out, while scammers tend to provide nonsense answers.

Unknown Freight/Shipping Company
Depending how far you are pulled into the scam, the scammer may send you to a shipping company to either arrange shipping, arrange shipping insurance, or to check a tracking number they give you after payment is made. Unfortunately, most of the time, this is a fake shipping company website being operated by the scammer (as a companion site). Giving you a tracking number to follow is a delay tactic that allows them time to get away with your money and disappear before you catch on to what happened.


Be Aware of New or Changing Tactics
Smarter scammers tend to update, modify, and change some of their tactics as people start to recognize how they operate. So, be aware that they may attempt to minimize some of the red flags identified above.

What can you do to help combat these scammers?

Share the domain name of the scam site so we can add it to the list. When people search for information on the scam site, this thread will likely appear in their search results.

Report Stolen Content
If the images were stolen from a retail site, you can contact the owner to let them know about it. Since they would be the copyright holder of the image, they may be able to file a DMCA claim against them website's hosting provider or registrar to try to get the website taken down.

Note that only the copyright holder or an authorized representative can file these complaints. Since you will likely have no connection with the owner of the stolen content, you will not be able to file a DMCA claim on their behalf.

Report Scams to Government Agencies
You can report the scam website to various government agencies here:

I'm not sure how quick or effective this is, but it can't hurt.

Report the Scam to the Website Hosting Provider
Most hosting providers do not want malware or scammers being hosted on their servers. It's bad for business and opens them up to liability. So, what you can do is report the website to them for a "terms of service" violation.

To check who the hosting provider is, Do a DNS lookup for the domain here:

Enter the domain name of the website, click the IP address listed in the search results, and the hosting information will appear. So, for the "PTR" record, look at the domain name listed. This will show the full address of the web server that the website is hosted on. Try visiting the main domain name (if the name is something like, just visit That should bring you to the company that owns the server.

Then take a look at their "abuse", "terms of service", and/or "acceptable use" pages to see if you can find instructions about reporting scam sites or fraud. Use the instructions to report the site, or you can't find instructions, use the general contact information/form provided on the company's website.

Note that if you do get the scammer's hosting services suspended, they will likely set up shop with another website hosting provider. But--this will mean some downtime for the scammer, and limit the places where they can go for hosting services. Plus, the more time they have to spend managing their scam website, the less time they will have to actually be running scams on people.

Report the Scam to the Domain Registrar
Using the domain whois information, you can determine who the registrar of the domain name is. Visit the registrar's website, and look for an abuse or abuse complaints section. There will usually be instructions on where to file the complaint.

Report the Facebook Pages
Some of these scam sites have facebook pages that accompany them, usually populated with the website address and other contact info, as well as posts with stolen images. If you visit the page, click the facebook page's menu options and click "find support or report page". Click the "scams and fake pages" option, then the "fake pages" option.

Big list of known pinball Scam web sites. (2024)


Big list of known pinball Scam web sites.? ›

Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.

How to check a fake website? ›

What are some ways to identify fake sites?
  1. Take a good look at the domain name to ensure it matches the official website. ...
  2. Look for a closed padlock or tune icon in the site's address bar that indicates a site has a valid security certificate to block hackers. ...
  3. Use a website checker that can verify secure sites.
Nov 15, 2023

Are there fake online shopping sites? ›

Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.

How do I find out a scammer's name? ›

If you think you're dealing with a scammer, stop communicating with them immediately. Go to Google and do a reverse image search of their profile picture. If it's associated with other names or comes up on a stock image site, it's a scam.

Is this website legit to buy from? ›

Check if it is authenticated (HTTP Secure): Authenticated websites begin with https:// instead of http://. Most illegitimate sites do not bother getting security certification because they are shut down quickly. Confirming the https:// is especially important on pages where you submit payment information.

How can I check the authenticity of a website? ›

How to check that a website is genuine
  1. Check the security label. Look out for a security label in the browser bar, on the left-hand side with a green padlock icon. ...
  2. Use a search engine. If you're not sure, open a new browser window and search for the organisation to check their genuine website address.
  3. Call to check.

How to check if a website is credible? ›

The following tips will help you tell a good source from one that's biased, outdated, or inaccurate:
  1. Check the domain name. ...
  2. Take a closer look at the source. ...
  3. Search for additional information to back up what you've found. ...
  4. Use certain sources only to jump-start additional research.

What is the most trusted online shopping site? ›

1. Amazon. Amazon is one of the largest and most popular online marketplaces globally, with over 310 million active users. The website offers an extensive range of products across various categories.

How to tell if someone is scamming you online? ›

  1. Scammers Want. You To Wire Money. You may be asked to wire money or purchase pre-paid debit cards. ...
  2. Scammers Tell. You To Keep It “Secret” ...
  3. Scammers Make. It Sound Too Good To Be True. ...
  4. Scammers Contact. You “Out Of The Blue” ...
  5. Scammers Claim. There Is An “Emergency” ...
  6. Scammers Ask. For Your Personal Information.

How many fake websites are there? ›

Even though 2020 is not yet at an end, it already has a record-high number of scam websites detected, amounting to 2.02 million sites, according to Google's data.

What are the red flags of a scammer? ›

Unsolicited offers: Don't respond to unsolicited cold calls, emails, junk mail, late-night commercials or infomercials, or social media posts that are either overly attractive or fear-inducing. These are all common tactics scammers use to entice you to engage.

What are three excuses a scammer uses? ›

Vague profiles and excuses: Scammers frequently fabricate stories about financial trouble, illness, or other misfortunes, manipulating their victims' sympathy to solicit money. They urge their victims to send gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.

What are common scammer phrases? ›

The Dirty Dozen: "Classic" Scams and Pitches
1.It's your lucky day! You won the foreign lottery!
2.Burn fat while you sleep!!!
3.Free cash grants! Never repay!
4.This free seminar can change your life!
5.Make BIG money working from home!
7 more rows

How to spot a fake online store? ›

10 easy ways to identify fake shopping websites
  1. URL red flags. ...
  2. Dodgy domain history. ...
  3. Pixelated images. ...
  4. Typos & bad grammar. ...
  5. Amateur website design. ...
  6. Bargain-basem*nt prices. ...
  7. Limited contact details. ...
  8. Complex or non-existent returns policy.
Oct 17, 2023

How can I make sure a website is legit? ›

Is This Website Safe? 6 Ways You Can Tell if a Site Is Legit
  1. Look for the “S” in HTTPS. ...
  2. Check for a website privacy policy. ...
  3. Find their contact information. ...
  4. Verify their trust seal. ...
  5. Use free website security tools. ...
  6. Know the signs of website malware.
Feb 20, 2024

How do I know if a website is safe to purchase from? ›

Here are eight ways you can avoid fake websites and other online scams and ensure that you're dealing with legitimate companies and safe online stores.
  1. Use the free McAfee WebAdvisor to check for safe sites. ...
  2. Check the padlock in the address bar. ...
  3. Verify the website's trust seal. ...
  4. Use the Google Transparency Report.

How to tell if a website is safe? ›

A secure website's URL should begin with “https” rather than “http”. The “s” at the end of “http” stands for secure and is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. Your information will be encrypted before being sent to a server. Be sure to click on the “lock” icon to verify that a website is trustworthy.

How to check if a company is legit? ›

If the company has no references or refuses to provide some, choose another company.
  1. Better Business Bureau: Search BBB Business Reviews.
  2. Glo-Bis: Information on Any Company, Anywhere in the World.
  3. Due Diligence Reports.
  4. Department of Commerce: Home Page.
  5. EIN Finder: Find an EIN.
  6. White Pages: Search.

What happens if you buy from a fake website? ›

If you get scammed while shopping online, you need to contact your credit card issuer, freeze your credit, change any compromised passwords, contact the online marketplace and report the scam to the FTC.

Is .org reliable? ›

Because it is easy for anyone to publish anything on a website, you need to find websites that contain reliable information. Websites with these domains (the URL ending) generally have reliable information: . org (a registered organisation)

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