With the advent of online shopping – e-commerce sites becoming popular since a few years ago, the Indian market has seen a lot of growth and business happening. The people who were separated by distance to do business were now able to do business by simply registering on an e-commerce website and supplying through them to someone sitting miles and miles away who has bought their product through the website .
Throughout this growth the market has also seen a rise in online platforms such as Quikr and Olx – which are online classified platforms. These platforms brought with them the ability to purchase, majorly second hand items, directly from the seller. As these websites were launched they became famous as they brought together the buyers and sellers from the same city and provided a convenience to both the parties. The Buyer now do not have to worry about scouring stores in the market or e-commerce websites in search of a good and affordable deal. And the seller does not have to worry about selling their item at a reasonable price for him or searching through the market for a good place to sell where he will get a good deal.
However, as the usage of these platforms grew post 2016, what also grew were the scammers on these platforms duping the buyers of their money as the scamming con artists were brought in direct contact with innocent buyers. As one read and witness such cases, there is a part in people that couldn’t help but be impressed by the ingenious methods and tricks that are used by these scammers. Recently I was adamant on getting a PS4 so I went on to browse these websites for good deals. What I noticed was very interesting so I investigated further by indulging the scammers to the point of just before the payment part comes. Funnily, soon I forgot about the PS4 and got engrossed in finding more about the tricks and scamming methods being used. It was fun indulging the scammers unaware that they are being studied.
One such instance is – the seller posts a ridiculous deal on the platform which sounds too good to be true (which they actually are) along with pictures. They provide the details to the extent that it appears to be genuine at a glance. The buyer sees this ad and contacts the seller. The seller immediately responds assuring the buyer of the genuineness of the deal. The seller tells them that he is based from US or Dubai and will supply the item through a courier service. He will ask the buyer for his WhatsApp number so that he can provide more details about the product. Once the user gives the WhatsApp number, he receives a message from the seller from some international number. This is done in order to assure the buyer that he is infact located abroad, which is not true.
He will tell the buyer that the courier service charges will be included in the item. Now, there are further following instances in the way of how this scam is conducted:
1. The seller asks the buyer to do a part payment of the original amount which as soon as is received the item will be shipped. The buyer sends the money and the seller goes underground. There is no further contacting the seller again and no chance of getting your money back.
2. The seller asks the buyer to do a part payment of the original amount, same as above and tells the buyer that once the payment is done the item will be shipped. The buyer pays the amount and is given a fake tracking ID and a contact number of courier person. This person is in on the scam. The buyer is contacted by the courier company and told that they are holding the item and as soon as the payment is done the item will be delivered. As soon as the buyer gives the remaining money to the Delivery agent, everyone vanishes and becomes out of reach. The so called courier company when contacts the buyer, they do so by an email or sms which is well drafted that it looks genuine. A few variance here, tweak in a single letter there shall give you the awareness of the genuineness of the Delivery agency and the seller. One must always carefully examine the email id, not just here but in any purchase or sell that involves money.
There are a few other variations but the basic trick remains the same as above. This is called long distance seller scam. Interestingly, there is also a Long distance Buyer scam that is conducted to con genuine sellers of their product. This happens just the opposite way of the trick given above but the mechanism of the con remains the same.
As interesting as this is about getting to know the ingenuity of the tricks devised to con the people and simpletons (well that’s why they say, “knowledge is power”) out of their money and the extent to which the scammers go to make everything look hunky-dory, it is always advisable to bear caution before indulging yourself in any such deals over online platforms.
At the end of investigating them, I reported the scammers and their adverts on Quikr as scams. LOL.