If you plan to buy the highly praised Apple tablet from Walmart, Besy Buy, London Drugs or Future Shop you could be in for a very unpleasant surprise.
Schemers have come up with a method, whereby they replace an iPad 2 with a bag of clay which has a similar weight and feel, before re-sealing the box so that it looks like new.
Having bought the real thing, taken the box home and then replaced the iPad with the clay, they take back the seemingly unopened box and then cash-in on the retailers' return policy.
Some unsuspecting customers have had the unpleasant surprise of arriving home and discovering the bag of white clay - which is not compatible with iOS 5. Needless to say, they were replaced by the stores.
The first retailers to discover the fraud were Future Shop and Best Buy in Canada, the country's CTV News reports. Both stores reported that 10 clay iPads were sold in their Metro Vancouver locations. After inspectors started to investigate the fraud with the two retailers, Walmart and London Drugs also reported that scam artists had hit their stores.
"It's really sad that people stoop to these low levels to take advantage of really hot sellers. As you probably know, tablets were the number one touted gift items for the holidays this year," Future Shop spokesperson Elliott Chun lamented.
Best Buy has said it is still maintaining its return policy, relating to 'unopened' devices, though they may have to review this should the problem become more widespread.