Paying Invisible Avatars?

Okay, this is a new one for me.  On my Reader feed, I saw a post about someone getting scammed at a store.  When they paid for a product, it brought up a name they didn’t recognize.  After waiting a few moments, they realized the product had not been delivered.

They went to the redelivery kiosk and tried to have the item redelivered.  The item did not show as a purchase.  So now the person is trying to figure out what happened, where her L$ went, and where the item was.

I thought nothing of it, and went about my day.  Later, I was looking through Flickr and noticed a post with this same name mentioned.  The post stated that somehow, someone was able to rez an invisible prim in front of a store vendor, and then people would mistakenly pay the scammer rather than the actual vendor.

I wondered how that was possible, since I would assume stores would only allow certain people to have rez rights to avoid this very situation.  Reading through the comments, it appears the guess is that the scammer made themselves invisible (by wearing alpha layers?) and then stood in front of the vendor and collected payments.

Criminals are creative, I’ll give them that.  This would never have occurred to me, but then, I’m not a criminal.  Also, how do the buyers not notice that they are paying an avatar rather than a vendor?  I can’t remember for sure, but wouldn’t the pie menu have some different options when you click on an avatar (like add friend or something) than a vendor?  Are people just so busy spending L$ they don’t notice?

If you have names turned on, wouldn’t you see the name of the invisible avatar, even though they’re invisible?  Maybe that’s different depending on your viewer.

As thieves get more creative, I guess we all need to start paying more attention to the details.  Know what you’re buying and who you are paying before hitting that pay/buy button.