Technology has made the world a smaller and more connected place. It has also made it easier for scammers to carry out their crimes. To ensure that you never fall victim to a scam, make knowledge and self-vigilance your first line of defence.
One should be very wary about buying popular gadgets at impossibly low prices, or prices that are too good to be true. Scammers typically post ads on online sites, selling smart phones, tablets or other gadgets at attractive prices. Victims are told to make advance payments to have the goods “delivered” to them.
In some cases, victims are told that they have to make further payments such as for customs duties, delivery charges and taxes in order to receive the goods. Though victims make these payments, they still do not receive the items.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
- Make your online purchases only from reputable vendors
- If advanced payments are necessary, only transact with people you know and trust. Otherwise, insist on getting a contact number so that the seller’s identity can be verified
- Check that the person or company you are buying from is physically located where they claim to be
- Check the company or seller’s track record. Make enquiries with the clients and customers about the service they received from the seller
- Never give your bank account numbers, credit card numbers and personal information to anyone you do not know or have not checked out
- Do not provide any information that is not necessary to make the purchase
- Do be mindful that scammers may use a local bank account for the transaction to enhance their credibility. The owner of the bank account may not be the person communicating with you online