Online buying and selling has become an important part of many people’s lives. Most people rely on the internet to acquire and sell items at affordable prices; there are thousands of Online Sellers and Online Shoppers as they find comfort in virtual stores that allows people to shop from the comfort of their homes. This is much a more convenient and realistic way to shop without the stress of travelling from home to malls and talking to a salesperson. Imagine you getting the product that you want without having to sacrifice effort, money, sleep – what more could you ask for? This is why online transactions are on the brink and are booming every since their birth.
In addition to that, you can even find the best deals for the items you’re looking to purchase. Both sellers and customers believe that online sales is a lot cheaper but just like anything associated with the internet, there are pros and cons associated with shopping online.
Any transaction online is susceptible to online scammers. That is why the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) advised everyone to be more vigilant in dealing with online sellers who are not into “meet-ups.” They’re into collecting payments through remittance centers and assure you to send your items via shipping. In this case, you might not be able to obtain the precise item you are ordering and in some instances. Worst case scenarios would be that you might never get it at all after sending your payment to the seller.
Efren Abantao, NBI Cybercrime Division Agent said in an interview in “Usapang de Campanilla” in DZMM to be more cautious on online shopping since there are a lot of scammers who uses other people’s identities for money.
Take for instance the incident that happened to Steph Ang, 17, who settle on buying a camera online for a friend as a birthday gift. By accident she finds a seller named “Fatima Bautista” and made a purchase on April 10.
They agreed that she will send the money via a remittance center and five weeks after she sent her payment amounting to Php2, 700.00. Unfortunately, the said item was never delivered.
Steph’s reaction was to contact the said online seller, Fatima but to her surprise she is unreachable now.
She immediately asked assistance from a radio program “Lingkod Kapamilya” at DZMM to report “Fatima”, the online scammer and to run after her.
Steph, after searching of ways on how to contact her seller finds out that Fatima’s location is at Ilagan City, Isabela. Fatima agreed to send the item via shipping but asked Steph to send the payment ahead through a remittance center. She agreed to send the money under the name “Angelo Mabad” whom the seller said, is her boyfriend.
Steph used to make online transactions also as an online seller. Since this is the case, she never had a problem with online shoppers. This is why she did not have hesitations on pursuing the transaction because she believed that it is a trusted social media group with legitimate and trustworthy sellers.
She tried to make a follow up after 3 days about the status of her order but there was never a single response from the seller. She can’ even be tagged on their social media group. Now she knew that she was actually stolen from – fraud in easier terms.
There are several ways to go after the suspect. They can verify where the money was claimed and who claimed it because the suspect most probably provided identification when he/she claimed the money,” according to Agent Victor Lorenzo of the National Bureau of Investigation Digital Forensic Laboratory (NBI-DFL).
Moreover, he also said that scammers also usually stay in their “comfort areas” or hideouts which usually are near money remittance centers.
We can’t deny that we’re dealing with a complete criminal, with this we can never really identify even if their location is legitimate. Since most scammers lie about their real location, Lorenzo warned the public not to corroborate or say yes in sending money as scammers usually lie about their real location.
It is also important to check as well if the social media account was just freshly created. He also added that meet-ups are constantly the excellent means to manage with online sellers and online shoppers rather than to do shipping deals. Why? Because online sellers are also cautious people. They would like to meet their clients and would like to have personal interaction with them before actually selling the product. It might just be bogus or scam so they’re making sure if who they’re dealing with is legitimate.
Since remittance centers rely only on identification cards as their requirement in claiming money, the scammers could easily produce one to push through with their schemes. A lot of online shoppers get into different scams everyday. But to save online shoppers the headache of partaking in a scam, wouldn’t it be nicer if you guys meet-up, have a little chitchat to check and see if you have other endeavors with each other?
Stay cautious because here in the Philippines, online scammers are everywhere. If you’re part of the demographic of online shoppers, watch out and be keen. You never know who you’re dealing with.
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