Philippines has highest shopping scam rate among 11 Asian countries
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippines ranked the highest among the 11 Asian countries that were covered in the 2023 Asia Scam Report from the 1st Anti-Scam Asia Summit in Taipei, Taiwan.
Data showed that the Philippines earned the 35.9-percent shopping scam rate, the highest among the 11 countries.
The Global Anti Scam Alliance (Gasa) and Gogolook published the data based on 20,000 respondents across the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and China.
The director of the Department of Information and Communications Technology in Central Visayas (DICT-7) acknowledged that the rate the country has earned is “a bit high.”
“That means a lot of Filipinos are getting victimized, so that means that it’s really time that we, as consumers, should be more careful,” said DICT-7 Director Frederick Amores in an interview on Nov. 29.
Warning to online shoppers
With this, Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) Executive Director Alexander K. Ramos urged consumers to be careful when they purchase online in which Amores also agreed.
“If it’s too good (the item online with their corresponding price) to be true, then most likely, you’ve been scammed. There are items you buy online which are unrealistic in terms of pricing. When you encounter those, I suggest [to] consumers, don’t buy them,” Amores said.
Amores provided an example of a scenario when there was someone who complained that they bought a kilo of gold, noting that an ounce of gold is USD2,000, or equivalent to around P111,000.
“[But] they bought a kilo of gold for P10,000. When they got the so-called gold, they went to a jewelry store or a pawnshop to have it pawned and it was not accepted, it was rejected. This person files a complaint [saying he got scammed],” he said.
He noted that it was impossible to buy a kilo of gold for P10,000, hence it should have been an indication that it was a scam.
High alert on holiday season
On the other note, Amores also agreed to what the CICC executive director said that shopping scams usually increase during the Christmas season.
“Holidays gani, mo-kiat sad ning mga scammer,” he said.
He shared with CDN Digital that Amores himself had been a victim of scam when he purchased a side table during the holy week this year.
Upon seeing the item’s look and design through an e-commerce platform, he got interested, especially that it was also sold at an affordable price.
However, at that time, he also had a hunch that the item might look different from the photo but decided to accept whatever its size might be when he received his order.
It turned out that his hunch was right and that the side table was far different from what he expected, but for a P50 to P100 price, he accepted it.
“Usually a side table will cost usually a thousand plus,” he said.
This is why he said that these days, people are very trusting on what they see online, hence it would be better to check the product’s description before buying anything. He also advised that if the product’s price is closer to the ones sold at the market, the item is likely to be legitimate.
Document unboxing of parcel
He urged consumers to take photos and videos of their parcels before opening so they can have proof to show when they have complaints or concerns to the sellers of the items they bought.
“When you file complaints, kung naa kay e-order, you document when you open. Mao nang ako, when I receive stuff, ako gyud nang video-han, nga inig-abli nimo naa kay proof,” he said.
He said that it is always good to document whenever the consumers buy something before they open the item as this is requirement of most online platforms now when the consumers want a refund of the items they purchased.
He also noted that there are also consumers who tend to deceive or lie to the sellers, saying something untrue about the item they bought.
“We have to protect sellers as well. It works both ways,” he said.
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