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15 Oct 2021

Econ Digest

Cyber Threat! Shoppers should know.... Sellers beware


        Advanced technology has changed the way transactions are conducted, from in-store transactions to online transactions. Scammers likewise continue to rip people off, moving from direct and sneaky deceptions such as picking pockets, scamming and money cheaters to remote fraud that is hard to catch. Here, we will share some common scam techniques and complaints received by banks to increase knowledge and raise awareness that will help prevent you from falling into the trap of becoming a victim.  
        Online shopping threats: Customers shopping online most commonly go through social networks; these networks may not be able to filter out malicious user data, thus creating an opportunity for scammers to defraud buyers, which is the main cause of damage for many buyers. The most common methods are as follows:
    • Lure to buy: By offering products with lower prices than usual, especially second-hand goods and brand-name products desired by the market >>> by asking the buyer to transfer money or pay for the product first, but the seller does not deliver the goods or may deliver, but the product is not of the quality advertised.
    • Cheated into transferring money: Most seen in online resale of second-hand goods. Unlike the first case, the scammers are not real sellers and have no intention to deliver the goods. >>> The transferee’s account name and the seller’s name are not the same person to avoid being traced. Some transferee’s accounts may be accounts of children or villagers,, who are hired to open accounts in exchange for a small amount of money. In addition, the current fraud has spread to the use of QR codes to transfer funds, where the victim does not know the account number transferred, making it difficult to trace (must report to the police to obtain account information from the bank).
    • Double deception: Luring a third party into transferring money to a merchant’s account while the scammers pretend to be the transferor is very common in gambling or online gaming transfers.

        Threats to online merchants, especially those who sell products on their social media channels without going through a central platform (such as Shopee, Lazada) will be at risk of being compromised just like everyone who enters the online world. Therefore, do not underestimate the fact that you are the only one who can set the conditions of sale for the delivery of goods upon receipt of payment. >>> This is because the number one complaint on the seller’s side is the receipt of a fake transfer slip or a fake online proof of payment that trims the amount of money in the slip. In addition to suffering for nothing, you will not receive payment for the goods.
        The following are ways to develop herd immunity for an online shopping society. The principle of which is to remind yourself to be very vigilant in every aspect of your online financial transactions, in order to enjoy a good experience, whether you are an honest buyer or seller.
  • Verify the identity of the seller on social media: from the proof of identity shown on the page such as company registration information or use a web search engine such as www.google.com to check the trading history (search through linked websites since the seller may have multiple accounts). If someone has cheated others, his/her name is often revealed, blamed or warned for others not to deal with this person. You must also consider the disclosure of the seller’s phone number and contact address; fixed line numbers are more reliable than mobile phone numbers. In addition, there are additional precautions when purchasing products directly from retail sellers as follows:

>>> The price is significantly lower than the market price: Additional searches should be made from the web forum, chat history, and product reviews from other customers, and inquire with the seller before paying.

>>> Avoid paying large sums to stores that you have never bought from before: Order small sums first to test whether the seller delivers the goods and really exists. However, if you want to buy high-priced goods, you must make an appointment to pick it up and pay when receiving the goods.

Verify the identity of the online store at www.trustmarkthai.com to ensure that it is a properly established store, as the sellers with their own websites are more reliable than online stores based on social media. Additionally, a long-standing website is more reliable than a newly launched website (most scam sites have been open for a short period of time). For websites ending with .com and .th, you can check the website registration time via http://dawhois.com and http://thnic.co.th/whois, respectively.

Stores on an e-Marketplace platform, especially the reputable platforms should have a certain level of credibility, because there is a system to verify the identity of both the buyer and the seller. At the same time, some stores also have after-sales service to enhance buyer confidence.

Verify the security of the payment network in case of paying by credit card >> Equipped with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) system that prevents card theft. It is important to note that a website address requiring a credit card number must begin with “https:” and the web browser that displays the padlock symbol.

Apply for the service to view the balance after transfer transaction: For sellers with high transaction volume and who must work quickly, it may be inconvenient to check multiple slips one by one on the website and the mobile application where the transaction occurs, a simpler and more convenient wizard should be used, although some service charges may have to be paid, such as >>use only a few primary or checkable accounts with real-time transaction alert service such SMS alert.

        Technology is advanced, but the crooks are, too. Hopefully, online shoppers and sellers will have more confidence in conducting transactions free from online threats. Please follow the next column, where we will introduce other cyber threats.   
We thank the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) and KASIKORNBANK for providing the source of information.

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