Psystar mystery adds up to phishing scam

Walk through the Psystar fiasco with me. Many things are confusing.

Walk through the Psystar fiasco with me. Many things are confusing. At a minimum, it's clear that the OpenMac is bogus. It's extremely dubious that Psystar is a legitimate company. It is increasingly likely that the whole thing is a phishing or credit-card scam. Item: The wandering hardware company. Psystar's address, as displayed on its website has changed four times since the story hit on Monday.

Address 1: 10645 SW 112th St., Miami
Address 2: 10481 NW 28th St., Miami
Address 3: 10471 NW 28th St., Miami
Address 4: 10475, NW 28th St., Doral

Psystar attempts to address suspicions about this with this statement on the website:

We're in the process of moving to a new location which is now listed on our contact page. The first new address posted (10481) was in error and our correct address is 10475 NW 28th Street. PSYSTAR was, prior to this past week, not ready to handle the enormous production capacity demanded by the online community. Due to the incredible response we have now expanded to a larger commercial unit to handle the supplies and assembly of Open Computers. THANK YOU for all of your orders.

The whole address thing is admirably reported by The Guardian's Charles Arthur and the loyal readers of Gizmodo, who tracked down the addresses and snapped pics. It's not clear to me that the latest address actually exists. Mapquest says the address exists. Google Maps says it doesn't. psystar1.jpgItem: No lawyers: Here Psystar (who no one's ever heard of) is challenging one of the largest and most litigation-friendly companies in Silicon Valley on a matter that goes to the heart of end-user license agreements -- a complicated and unsettled area of law -- and one with ramifications for the entire industry. But Psystar's lawyers are nowhere to be heard of. Even weirder: Psystar's Rodolfo Pedraza has been talking to the media. Assuming he has lawyers, they're not telling him to shut up? Item: Credit-card processing. Psystar is taking credit card numbers. It's not processing them. People who tried to order machines yesterday got this message:

Thank you for visiting Psystar. We're sorry but the store is temporarily down due to the fact that we are currently unable to process any credit card transactions. Please send an e-mail to support@psystar.com with the subject line "UPDATE" so that we can update you when the store comes back online. For customers who have already placed orders: if you received a confirmation e-mail then your item is in queue to be built and shipped.

Today Pystar confesses they don't have a processor:

Midday yesterday our store was not receiving any orders. This was due to the fact that our merchant gateway, Powerpay, dropped the ball on us and refused to process any more transactions from our company. We have reverted to Paypal until we can find a high-volume merchant. Apparently Powerpay was not ready to handle the community's demand for Open Computing."

News.com's Tom Krazit reports today that Powerpay yanked Psystar's account Wednesday when it discovered what it was purporting to sell.

Louisa Deluca, vice president of loss prevention for Powerpay, said on Thursday that her company dropped Psystar because it violated the terms of its agreement with Powerpay. She declined to cite specific violations, but said "there are plenty of reasons why we shut the account off. We did not know that's what he was selling, we learned that yesterday."

Item: Floridatek.com. Psystar principal Rodolfo Pedraza is also listed as the registrant for a company called FloridaTek.com. As pointed out on Gizmodo, if you go to the site and click almost anywhere, you will get the chance to save a .exe file to your computer.

Conclusion: Psystar is collecting credit cards numbers, encouraging that people send them email, and engaging in spyware. It's a phishing/credit-card scam. If you gave them your credit card number you should alert your bank. You might want to contact the FL Attorney General. I contacted them and they said to date they have no complaints about Psystar or Pedraza.