One in five Filipinos bought something online in the past month according to the January 2015 data from We Are Social. If you check out Alexa’s rankings of the top websites in the Philippines, you’ll find that many (outside Facebook and Google of course) are e-commerce websites including Amazon.com (number 10), Lazada.com.ph (number 11), and CashCashPinoy.com (number 16).
Us Pinoys are glued to our smartphone and computer screens like never before. We are Social’s data say that Filipinos spend an average of 6 hours and 12 minutes each day on the Internet. Some of that time is obviously spent browsing at e-commerce sites and ordering everything from new clothes to financial products like car insurance policy.
While many online transactions happen every day without a hitch, there are still reports of scams that affect online shoppers.
There are several methods that scammers use to victimize people, here are a few of them.
Scams on Buy and Sell Sites
ABS-CBN reported one scam that victimized one online shopper on a popular buy and sell site where anyone can post a classified ad. The victim saw an ad on the site for an iPad mini and got in touch with the online seller through text. The scammer introduced herself as a female doctor and even asked the victim to check her online profile. The victim sent the money but no gadget was delivered.
To protect yourself from these types of scams, choose an online seller that lets you pay through COD (cash on delivery). Since sellers on buy-and-sell sites don’t usually have COD option, you should not only ask the seller to do a meet-up but also choose a place that you know is safe for you. Bring a companion as much as possible.
Regular online shoppers might not think twice about opening an e-mail about a shipping notification. Once you open the email that can contain an attachment, you could fall victim to a phishing email that tries to get your personal and banking information.
Before you open emails like these, make sure that the email comes from a reputable source. Reputable websites would have a telephone number that you could call if you have any doubt that an e-mail is really from their company.
It’s easy for anyone to post an ad on buy-and-sell sites these days or even on buy-and-sell pages on social media sites like Facebook using a fake profile. Go on any one of these pages and you’ll encounter an occasional post from buyers who bought defective products from an online seller. If you’re buying something from an online seller, make sure you have enough time to inspect the product before you hand over your money.
Auction Site Scams
If you do decide to shop on auction sites (one where a seller posts an item and auctions it to attract the highest bid) you can take steps to make sure that you don’t fall victim to a scam. There are cases when what you’re buying might turn out to be fake.
Bid only on items sold by a seller who already has a good reputation on the auction site. Read feedback and reviews from past customers and be wary of buying an item from an auctioneer who is selling a rare item at a price that is too good to be true. You might find out the hard way that it is indeed, too good to be true.
Online shopping can be safe and convenient if you’re smart and know how to protect yourself. Shop only from reputable e-commerce sites and in the event that you’re shopping from an online merchant for the first time, try to look for user reviews and feedbacks about the said site. Online shoppers who have been scammed often warn others against dealing with sellers that took advantage of them.
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