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.? ›

Check if the website is HTTP secure.

Check if the site has an SSL/TLS certificate, indicated by a padlock symbol and an HTTPS in the web address bar (“https://” instead of “http://”). Fake websites typically are not authenticated and don't use the secure HTTPS protocol.

How to check if a website is legit? ›

Here's how to check if a website is safe:
  1. Use a website safety checker. ...
  2. Use your browser's safety tools. ...
  3. Double-check URLs. ...
  4. Check for HTTPS. ...
  5. Look for a privacy policy. ...
  6. Don't blindly trust “trust” badges. ...
  7. Learn the obvious signs that a site is fake. ...
  8. Use “whois” to look up the domain owner.
Jan 24, 2024

How to check scammer website? ›

We've compiled a list of what you can look for to tell if a website is legitimate:
  1. Study the address bar and URL.
  2. Investigate the SSL certificate.
  3. Check the website for poor grammar or spelling.
  4. Verify the domain.
  5. Check the contact page.
  6. Look up and review the company's social media presence.

How to identify fake websites? ›

Check if the website is HTTP secure.

Check if the site has an SSL/TLS certificate, indicated by a padlock symbol and an HTTPS in the web address bar (“https://” instead of “http://”). Fake websites typically are not authenticated and don't use the secure HTTPS protocol.

Are there fake online shopping sites? ›

Scammers use the latest technology to set up fake retailer websites that look like genuine online retail stores. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, and even a domain name similar to an authentic retailer.

How do you check if a website is safe or not? ›

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 do you know if a website is not trustworthy? ›

How to tell if a website is credible
  1. Check the domain name. One of the fastest ways to tell if a website is credible is by checking its domain name. ...
  2. Look at the sources. ...
  3. Check out the contact page. ...
  4. Evaluate the website's design. ...
  5. Check your security connection.
Jul 18, 2023

How do I outsmart an online scammer? ›

  1. Don't click on links in an unsolicited email or text message.
  2. Don't use the phone number a potential scammer provided in an email or text message. ...
  3. Don't give out personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers.
Feb 28, 2023

How do you tell if you're talking to a scammer online? ›

If you Google their name and don't find much, you could be dealing with a scammer. Their social media accounts look suspicious. Look for anything that feels off, such as a low friend count, no recent posts, or only the same photos as on the dating site. They may appear to have an overwhelming intensity.

How do you verify a scammer? ›

How to check for scams
  1. Don't click on any links until you verify it's safe. ...
  2. Check for spelling and grammar errors. ...
  3. Use Google to research the person or organisation. ...
  4. If someone calls you unexpectedly to sell financial products, hang up. ...
  5. Ask the person to leave their information and return next week.

What are the red flags of a fake website? ›

Look for poor spelling, design issues, and other red flags

Similar to scam emails and texts, phishing websites often include basic flaws and mistakes that legitimate companies wouldn't miss. Look for these design and content warning signs that typically indicate you're on a phishing website: Poor spelling and grammar.

What are the apps used for scamming? ›

9 screen sharing apps scammers might use for financial fraud
  • 9 screen sharing apps scammers might use for financial fraud. Nov 28, 2023. ...
  • AnyDesk. ...
  • TeamViewer. ...
  • TeamViewer QuickSupport. ...
  • RemoteDroid. ...
  • TeamViewer Host. ...
  • AirMirror: Remote Control. ...
  • AirDroid: File & Remote Access.
Nov 28, 2023

How can you spot if a website is reliable? ›

8 Ways to Determine Website Reliability
  1. Look for Established Institutions. The internet is full of websites that were started five minutes ago. ...
  2. Look for Sites with Expertise. ...
  3. Steer Clear of Commercial Sites. ...
  4. Beware of Bias. ...
  5. Check the Date. ...
  6. Consider the Site's Look. ...
  7. Avoid Anonymous Authors. ...
  8. Check the Links.
Dec 4, 2019

What is the most trusted online shopping site? ›

Amazon (

Amazon stands as a juggernaut in the world of online shopping, renowned for its unparalleled product range and expansive global presence.

How to check fake companies list? ›

Free Business Name Search
  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.

How do you know if an online product is real? ›

Look for signs of legitimacy on the retailer's website

This can include things like a physical address and phone number, a privacy policy, and customer service information. Reputable retailers will also usually have customer reviews and ratings that you can read through.

How do you check if it's safe to buy from a website? ›

Check the padlock in the address bar

Often, hackers will use URLs that are very close to the real site's URL but not quite the same. Look for typos or use Google to see if a search takes you to the same page. Also, look for a padlock icon in the address bar.

How to find out if a company is legit? ›

How to Check If a Company Is Legitimate
  1. Check the company's website.
  2. Check out their T&Cs and privacy policy.
  3. Look at customer references and reviews.
  4. Run a company credit check.

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)

How do you prove a website is yours? ›

Add a DNS record to your domain provider's record list to prove ownership. This is required only for Domain property, ( not URL-prefix properties ( If you use this method on a URL-prefix property, you will also be auto-verified for the Domain property.

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