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E-commerce scams

Learn how to stay safe when shopping online

WHAT ARE E-COMMERCE SCAMS?

E-commerce scams, prevalent in online marketplaces, can involve criminals posing as legitimate online sellers. They may either use a standalone website or a page or advertisement on a genuine retail website or marketplace.

E-commerce scams can also refer to when scammers use certain deceptive tactics during a commercial transaction. For example, they may take payment for what is being sold as a genuine product and deliver a fake or inferior product; they may also not deliver a product at all.

HOW DO E-COMMERCE SCAMS WORK?

Criminals continue to evolve their tactics. Here are some ways in which they may try to scam their targets – people who shop online.

The approach:

The fraud:

HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM OF E-COMMERCE SCAMS
  • Be sceptical
    Do not trust lofty promises that sellers make, deals that seem too good to be true or product listings that contain vague or little to no information about the product.
  • Use only secure payment methods

    Be wary of sellers who do not allow payment via secure payment methods (e.g PayPal or a credit card).

    Insist on making payment via the secure methods available within the e-commerce platform you are shopping on or by paying cash on delivery of the product you have purchased. Never transfer money to unknown bank accounts; never share your bank account and credit card details with anyone you do not know or trust.

    Avoid using virtual currencies such as bitcoin on lesser-known e-commerce platforms or sites. Payment in virtual currency is not protected in the same way that other transaction methods (e.g. credit card payment) are, so you will not be able to get your money back.

  • Do your research

    If you are shopping on an e-commerce platform, always choose to deal with reputable sellers who have good independent ratings and reviews and have been with the platform for some time. When in doubt, do your research: Search for the name of their shop on a search engine or a social media website to see what others have to say about their experience with the business. Ask your family and friends if they have heard of the shop or their products.

  • Read their T&Cs and policies

    Especially for high-value items, use reputable e-commerce platforms with consumer protection and fair refund and return policies.

    The more reputable platforms have detailed complaint or dispute handling processes. Check what their guarantees are before you buy from a seller through their platforms.

    Always check the T&Cs and ensure fees, taxes and any other charges are stated upfront. Be wary of sellers who do not provide their contact details; or adequate information about privacy, terms and conditions of use, or dispute resolution.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN SCAMMED

Call us

If you believe you have fallen prey to such scams and/or your OCBC account details/funds may be or may have been compromised, please call our Personal Banking hotline at 6363 3333 (or +65 6363 3333 if you are overseas) for assistance. Press 9 to report fraud or 8 to temporarily freeze all your accounts and cards.

Contact the Police and file a report

You can file a police report online or in person at a police station

Find out what information you will need to share if you have fallen prey to a scam.

Contact the platforms involved

Report the scammer to the e-commerce platform, social media website or classified ads website that you purchased the product from and/or where the scammer approached you.

Spread the word

Tell others you know of your experience to help educate and protect them. You can also share your stories on social media or anonymously at www.scamalert.sg.
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