Scam alert: iPhones loaded with 'Flappy Bird' on eBay aren't selling for thousands

By on February 10, 2014, 11:30 AM

True to his word, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen pulled the hit mobile game from app stores yesterday. That means if you hadn’t already downloaded and installed the title for your phone or tablet, you’re out of luck… or are you?

Many are being led to believe that if you’re willing to spend some serious money, you can still get your hands on the addictive game over on eBay by simply purchasing an iPhone with the game preinstalled. The idea alone may sound silly but people appear to be shelling out a ridiculous amount of money for otherwise ordinary devices.

Or at least, that’s what someone wants you to think.

A quick check of eBay’s “sold” listings does reveal several phones with the game installed that appear to have been sold. Digging deeper, however, I discovered that every listing was won with either a single bid at an outrageous price or through Buy It Now. Furthermore, the accounts used to sell the phones are very questionable. Several have a feedback score of fewer than three while the majority are new accounts with zero feedback.

Or in other words, the whole thing sounds bogus at best. Buy why?

I can see one of two possibilities playing out here. Either someone or a couple of people are trying to scam others out of a quick buck with phony eBay ads or what’s more likely, someone is simply trying to drum up interest for the game / create a market for Flappy Bird-installed phones that doesn’t yet exist.




User Comments: 29

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ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

When you get an iPhone or other smartphone device, you have to have an account for the appstore. It will ask you to verify your account and BAM...you don't have the password to that account and therefore you lose Flappy Birds. This is an alright idea, but it definitely wasn't well thought out.

3 people like this | Nobina Nobina said:

Who is even dumb enough to pay $2000 for a phone just because it has a shitty free app installed? I know it's a scam, but people that made this scam probably though that someone would buy this...

4 people like this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

Who is even dumb enough to pay $2000 for a phone just because it has a shitty free app installed? I know it's a scam, but people that made this scam probably though that someone would buy this...

These are humans we're talking about, right?

Gopal Bhat Gopal Bhat said:

Anyone with an Android phone can just simply download & install the .apk

Guest said:

Wow, things are messed up in the iOS side. I can easily sideload this game if I wanted to, on my android.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I don't get it... flappy bird is only cool because people are talking about it. I uninstalled it 3 mins after trying to play and failing miserably. I don't think I had a game last longer than 5 seconds in my first 10 tries and that was enough for me.

Seriously the creator of this app should be sharing the ad revenue with everyone who wasted their time with it.

sridoodla sridoodla said:

Apparently, some biddings are up to $100k already.

[link]

Guest said:

Thats only 10k....

cmbjive said:

It seems the sellers on ebay are "fishing" for suckers.

Heh, you know it was funny.

ikesmasher said:

Who is even dumb enough to pay $2000 for a phone just because it has a shitty free app installed? I know it's a scam, but people that made this scam probably though that someone would buy this...

These are humans we're talking about, right?

I see what your saying, but we cant forget that 99% of the people who care about flappy bird already have it installed.

Guest said:

I thought "flappy bird" refers to something that needs via***. on reading the article, I thank the heavens my assumption was wrong.

on "techies" who love flappy bird app, damn... I thought mad cow disease is only found in cows (and in humans in creutzfeldt-jakob disease variant)

Guest said:

Well there are some ****** out there that probably would buy them. Since majority of I users have $$$ to spare

JC713 JC713 said:

Only an addict would buy those...

sridoodla sridoodla said:

Thats only 10k....

[link]

Guest said:

Im sure alot were scams with shill bids. I saw the crazy bids and decided to give it a shot, I have 500+ sells on eBay, mine was legitimately up to $9k before eBay took it down. do I think it was worth that kind money? hell no. am I willing to make a quick buck off of stupidity? hell yea.

and the app would not be deleted after the new owner put in their apple id, any apps that I did not delete would still be accessible, but not upgradeable. so if ol guy comes back with an update for the game, the new owner would not be able to get it without my password. but the original install would still be playable

ikesmasher said:

So wait, are some of these legit or something? a lot of confusion here.

Guest said:

Mine was, but ebay is taking them all down before they sell

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

What a waste of money...

1 person liked this | Bell2dx Bell2dx said:

When u list a phone on eBay it has to be reset to factory defaults or eBay will remove it as they won't allow you to sell a phone with pre installed software on it so people are just bidding stupid money because eBay has to remove the item before the end of the listing

Guest said:

Theres always someone trying to tell the world "I use Android and its better" or vice versa. Seriously, nobody cares what phone you use. :)

Guest said:

Its interesting that Ebay has removed the listings as they say it violates apples terms BUT the app itself was free AND when you do a search at Apples website http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5661 it says that if you don't reset your device before you sell it "Ask the new owner to erase all content and settings as described above." ...so technically If you place this link in your ad to prove you are not violating Apples terms AND ask the new owner to reset it in your listing then it should be perfectly legal and no grounds for Ebay to cancel any listings.

Guest said:

Some are obviously getting past iphone and ebay t&c's

[link]

Trev madden said:

Lol eBay are making a killing on eBay fees

vagabond4610 vagabond4610 said:

In a nutshell....

Looks like a bit of an almost harmless scam. The developer is already accused of driving up the popularity of a mediocre (at best) game by having automated computers buying the App in the first place. Now it looks like he is getting another laugh! The phones that are "selling" are listed and "bought" by people that have little to no history on eBay (not proven as reliable or accountable to anyone).

The fraudulent flappy bird "sales" slide though becomes no one reports them..., because the "buyer" is part of the game (prank/scam), if not the same person. No money changes hands.

eBay will not let you sell your software preloaded on a device! Software is typically sold for the end user..., not for resale. This is their policy to cover their butt..., and in some cases may actually be a more stringent policy than the software/hardware designer.

So now the average user is trying to get rich quick (first tip off to a scam)! They pay to list their phone (this is the not harmless part), then people bid like crazy. Some of the bidders..., if not all will likely be the ones to report the sale to eBay and nullify it.

In the end this looks like another brilliant, albeit deceptive, marketing scheme for the makers of flappy bird. I can only imagine the hype over the re-release of the game after all of this or perhaps they will ride the wave of this into the release of another game. "Better get it now!!! Before our developer changes his/her mind!" ;)

misfits said:

My daughter told me about this flappy bird craze and the alleged prices they are fetching. I looked on ebay, completed listings, sold items, and yes, it does seem that some have sold for ridiculous prices. I then checked sold lowest price first. There seems to be a lot sold on buy it nows for just 99p, this includes app and phone!! Thoughts anyone? I just dont understand it

Guest said:

Wrong, Actually. You can keep that app all you want. You cannot download it, Update it nothing, Its still installed via the other account. You do not lose apps that you don't know the password to, You merely cannot update or transfer them to your computer.

Guest said:

Misfit, they are not actually selling for that amount. If you read the article, it says that the accounts that are supposedly selling them have 0 feedback, and they are mostly Buy It Now offers of ridiculous prices. It is likely that the person is having a friend bid on them to make it look like it was sold, but then they don't have to pay.

Guest said:

I honestly don't think they have sold for that amount. It has to be people scamming, and making others 'think' their phone is worth all that money with Flappy Bird. I tried to sell my brothers iphone on ebay (way before flappy bird was even made). I had a buyer (with 0 feedback) 'buy' the phone. So it showed on eBay that the phone had 'sold', but the buyer never checked out with paypal, and I was stuck having to pay a 32 dollar sellers fee. I had to wait until the buyer cancelled the purchase on their end before I could be refunded my sellers fee. It's probably just people doing the above, or people trolling and forcing sellers to pay the ridiculous sellers fee associated with the sale without even completing the sale.

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