There has recently arisen a scam by unscrupulous third party merchants on Amazon. As this scam impacts our users, we thought you would like to hear about it.
The idea is simple. The seller lists a product for much lower than other sellers, then says "please contact me before purchasing" in the description of their offer. This is a red flag. Every part of a transaction on Amazon needs to take place through Amazon, so that the communication can be reviewed for compliance with their terms of service. When you take a transaction offsite, you lose Amazon's protection and risk being scammed.
In this case, you contact the seller and they tell you to send them untraceable cash or cash replacements (ie, gift cards). And of course you end up with no product.
So the lesson here is, avoid all offers that request you contact the seller before purchasing, and absolutely do not complete any transactions offsite; don't checkout through Paypal, don't checkout through the merchant's own site...these things will likely cause you to lose Amazon's protection.
Stay safe out there! And please report all instances of this scam to Amazon directly; the more often they hear about it, the more quickly they will take action.