Are you put off from buying and selling online because of online scams? Educate yourself on the online scams in Malaysia to protect yourself from falling victim. Check out the common online scams below so you can be safe and smart online!
1. Online Banking Scam
This one has been around for a while but not many people might know about it. In this type of scam, what happens is that the scammers place an ad for a product on social media. The ad would be interesting enough to make you want to purchase the item. Once you decide to pay for it, you'll be redirected to a payment page. However, instead of being taken to your bank's actual website, you'll find yourself at a fake one.
It would look just like your bank's website, so you might not suspect a thing. You'll then innocently giveaway your login details, and this is how the scammer will be able to access your bank account. It can be tricky, but to save yourself from this, be wary of who you buy from. Look out for real reviews to ensure that they're legitimate. And when it comes to payments, ask if you can pay through other methods such as online wallets.
2. The Foreign Buyers Scam
This is the most common scam an online seller would encounter. The modus operandi is always similar - these foreign buyers will contact you saying they are from a foreign country but are interested to buy your item.
Chung Tsung Chen, Head of Corporate Affairs at Mudah.my explained, “When these scammers ask for your bank details to make payment it can go two ways. They will either send you a fake remittance slip or they will use your bank details and get someone else to deposit the money into your account. Most of the time they will send a fake remittance slip.
“There have been cases where victims receive calls purporting to be from Bank Negara with cloned numbers from the fraudster’s accomplice asking them to deliver the item or scaring them” said Chung.
“These clone numbers look similar to phone numbers of Bank Negara but with a slight difference such as a dot or a dash. At first glance the number looks the same as it’s very minor, minute differences”. If this happens to you, call Bank Negara yourself to get the matter checked out.
3. The Upfront Deposit Scam
This is the most common scam received says Chung, “it is still the main scam that is happening here in Malaysia. People make upfront deposits after which they do not receive the item. The seller then disappears and can no longer be contacted. It usually happens with electronic items.”
Chung says the best way to protect yourself from falling victim to this is to never agree on any upfront deposit or payment. It is safer to opt for Cash on Delivery (COD). He says if a seller refuses COD or gives excuses as to why COD is not possible, it is a red flag. Do also avoid dealing with sellers who insists on deposit to “reserve” an item.
4. The Vehicle Syndicate
This is a syndicate where scammers pose as or use an existing car dealership company details claiming to sell used car online. They will then tell a buyer who is interested to make a deposit payment into their account to “secure” the car.
However, upon making the deposit payment and going to the car dealership, the victim learns that it was a scam and no such employee exists at the car dealership company.
Chung advice buyers to do a quick check by calling the dealership to check that the car is indeed being put up for sale by the company. He also advise buyers to not make any upfront deposits.
“This is very prevalent, it’s basically a syndicate going around and it’s a form of identity theft and car dealership companies are being used by scammers to scam people.”
Another way to spot this scam is if you are asked to make a deposit to an account under an individual’s name, because by right the transaction should be made to the company’s account.
5. The Tenancy Scam
When it comes to this type of scam, Chung shares that, “most of the time these cases usually involve fake property agents.” He explains that victims are usually tricked into making a deposit to reserve the unit. They will then find that the individual posing as the property agent can no longer be contacted.
Chung’s advice is to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate property agent, “Call the real estate agency to verify, it’s very straight forward. Don’t take the phone number the agent gave you as it could be a phone number directing you to their accomplice. Do a quick search for the real estate agency’s details and call that number instead to check if the agent exists.”
Scams with tenancy usually happen with rentals, and it is prevalent especially at student hubs, “be careful with tenancy for places such as Setapak and Wangsa Maju because the student population is high there” says Chung. Students are usually in a rush to find a room or house to rent, so they are more susceptible to falling victim to these sort of tenancy scams.
“At the end of the day, the best way to avoid being a victim to scams is to opt for Cash on Delivery (COD)” shares Chung. So whether you’re a buyer or seller dealing online, when it comes to the payment it’s best to do it via the COD method. It pays to be vigilant folks!
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