“That’s some bullshit!” is something I would exclaim if I were the victim of a RedBox disc-swap scam. This past Sunday I was sent a message via Facebook. The person, we’ll call her Lily, told me, “Earlier this week [note: October 24th], my dad and I passed by a Redbox vending machine when we went grocery shopping and decided to rent a game.” So they went and rented Dishonored for the PS3. But upon coming home, she realized “…that the game had been replaced by a photocopy of the CD itself with the barcode positioned for the machine to scan.” I requested a photo of it, and she delivered with the image you see up there. By the looks of it, it was also taped down to keep the piece of paper from moving.
Further investigations into similar scams to spoof the barcode reader yielded more stories of this happening to RedBox customers. Over on Zoklet.net, user “love free stuff” talks about a similar event occurring to his mother after she tried to rent a movie from RedBox, only to discover that the case held a blank disc. Turns out the barcode from the intended movie was peeled off and put on a blank disc. Less sophisticated than photocopying the disc, but the machine was spoofed nonetheless. Same thing happened to another user on Ask.com. Amy from ZippyCart also reported a similar incident of barcode peeling. When RedBox caught wind of the the spoofing, they issued a satement saying that incedents like these were “rare” and that they were “committed to resolving all customer issues.” This was in 2010. Now it’s 2012 and these issues are still occuring. Considering how expensive games are to movies, I could imagine scanner spoofing would be much more common with games.
Lily asked me if Gamefly had the same problems, but since it’s similar to Netflix, it’s rare to get away with spoofing a barcode scanner since there’s a person doing the scanning and not a vending machine (not to mention they will catch your ass and charge you full price for the game). So renter beware, be careful when getting your movies and games from RedBox. And if you spoof a Redbox machine yourself, you are a cheap bum.