When shopping online, especially using social media to contact an online shop, one must be careful to avoid getting conned. Fraudsters have duped several people recently, This that calls for more caution while making a purchase online.
Even though this is obvious, it is sometimes hard to tell if one communicates with the actual online store or the fraudster in making a purchase.
The conning can happen to both the seller and the buyer. It, therefore, means that whether you are selling or buying, you ought to be cautious while undertaking any transaction.
When a fraudster cons a seller, it usually involves tricks to win their trust. The buyer portrays genuineness from the beginning but plays the cards right to ensure that the seller trusts them and delivers the goods before making payment. Once the seller delivers the goods, they disappear and can’t be found again. This disappearance happens because after getting the goods in their possession, the seemingly genuine buyer switches off their communication lines, which is how a seller loses their money.
Over the 2022 festive season, fraudsters conned several people who were trying to purchase or sell goods online. One instance is when a businessperson selling chicken has conned 200 chicken products amounting to more than Kshs.100,000.
The buyer had seemed very genuine from the beginning. When the businessperson started getting suspicious because the buyer had delayed paying, the buyer pulled out the gender card saying, “I am a mother too. I cannot fail you”. She would only disappear with over 100,000 shillings once she had received the chicken.
As people try as much as possible to avoid being conned, fraudsters have become cleverer by ensuring that customers are unsuspecting of their intentions.
Online shopping mainly involves cash payment before the seller releases the goods for delivery. Even when one does not pay the whole amount, half the price will do, which is something that a fraudster would be okay with going away with. To them, they hardly sweat for that free money.
The recent ordeal involving three men who cloned the Jumia Facebook page and took money from unsuspecting buyers of their cash illustrates how easy it is for one to be conned, whether going online to buy or sell.
By creating an online Facebook page with the name Jumia shopping, the trio drew Kenyans who love shopping online to their trap. One would hardly sit down and think about how genuine the account would be because it was the same as the actual Jumia account.
To make the deal sweeter, they even offered customers up to 40% discount for some goods. This could not have been weird because the festive season comes with massive discounts in Jumia.
The trio provided a till number, which they instructed the customers to pay through. Upon receiving payment, they promised to deliver the purchased products within 24 hours, only hours later to block the customers who had paid for some products.
Since shopping online is becoming something we may have to engage in from time to time, it would be vital to have some knowledge that may prevent you from getting conned.
Here are tips to ensure you never lose money while purchasing goods online.
1. Check the profile of the online shop to ascertain that it’s a genuine online shop, not a cloned one. Cloned acounts are created a week or few months prior and may have very few followers, unlike the real ones. Ensure that every profile detail corresponds to what you may know about the store; if you need clarification, you may search on another profile of the online seller to ensure it is the right one.
2. Rather than clicking on social media links to make purchases, go to your browser and search for the store. From here, make your purchase, and you’ll be good to go.
3. Check the deals to ensure that they are reasonable. When the deal is too good, it may fail to be true. Scammers use too good deals to lure people to their sites so they can con them. Once you encounter a very luring agreement, it may be a warning sign to be careful.
4. Another thing to check out for is the contact information of the online store. A genuine online store will provide customer care details. Contact details will include an email address that reflects the name of the online shop. When the online shop you are about to make purchases from does not have these details, then that is one red flag you cannot afford to ignore.
5. Another tip is to be on the lookout for online trending news. Fraudsters change by the day so that they better their tricks. Keeping up with what happens in the world of online shopping will keep you updated with the latest tricks. This will help you from getting conned because you’d spot the scam and avoid.
Here are key things to check out
- Checking the seller’s identity
- Always read reviews
- Pay securely
- Update your software
- Make sure the site is secure
- Analyze the website’s general layout
Here are more articles on online shopping
Technology: The Dos And Donts Of Online Shopping
5 Hacks To Save Money When Shopping Online
Safaricom Has Given Some Tips On How To Avoid Being Conned By Fraudsters