I posted last year about some radio ads I was hearing that really pissed me off. They were for a company called Blue Hippo, and they were offering computers to anyone, regardless of credit. All you had to do was make all 13 payments to pay it off to get the computer.

Umm, except they didn’t actually bother to send computers out until the FTC really got on their case. Except once, and that apparently was a mistake somehow. Out of 35,000 orders. I’m kind of confused about how you send out single computer by mistake, since it indicates you have some method of fulfilling other orders, but maybe that’s just me.

It’s not a work at home scam, but this kind of scam still drives me nuts. It’s taking such advantage of people who have very little money. Rather little money sense too, if they couldn’t save up that money on their own or buy a cheaper computer, but that’s beside the point.

Just reading the article is horrifying. Everything about how the business was run screams that it was set up only as a scam, never with an intention of being an honest business. I guess the owner’s feeling was that if you’re going to run a scam, you may as well be consistent about it.

They even suggest using your SSN and mother’s maiden name for login information. Really. Check this screenshot from their site (click to enlarge):

blue hippo

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Both because it’s so obvious. It just hurts that people fall for this kind of stuff, but the lack of subtlety is hard to not be amused by.

Then there’s the really tragic part that they could have run this legitimately by shipping out cheap computers and still made insane profits. But some people only understand outright theft, I guess.

I’ll repeat some of my advice from last time. You need a computer so badly, save up for it. Or buy refurbished. Or check Craigslist. Or Freecycle. You can get a decent computer for a few hundred dollars, and even find laptops in the $400 or less range. They won’t be fancy, but they’ll do enough. Amazon also has some pretty good deals.

This kind of scam is a great reminder to always do your homework when dealing with an unfamiliar company online. It can be online shopping or a home business opportunity, but you don’t want to share your information or pay until you’re comfortable that you’re likely to get what you expected.