Shoppers warned of 11.11 scams

PETALING JAYA: Cybersecurity experts and a consumer association have warned online consumers to be wary of e-commerce fraud with the mega 11.11 sales kicking off after midnight.

Cybersecurity company LGMS founder CF Fong says fraudsters would take this opportunity to prey on online buyers by offering them “too good to be true” prices.

“Even without the 11.11 sales there is already e-commerce fraud, but with the sales, it will certainly increase the chances of it happening, ” he said.

The 11.11 online shopping spree event, also known as Singles’ Day, is the biggest global sales event for online shopping on Nov 11.

Well-known online retailers such as Lazada, Zalora, Taobao and Shopee usually take part in it.

Fong said with products now being sold on social media sites, more fraudulent sellers would emerge. To avoid fraudulent transactions, he urged consumers to buy from reputable websites which have proper mechanisms to check and verify their vendors.

He said if a product was sold at an “unbelievable price” then it probably was “too good to be true”.

He said those who were cheated would not get their items or the sellers would continue to fleece them by asking for more money as the items were supposedly being withheld by customs authorities.

Information security company Spectrum Edge cybersecurity consultant Kelvin Goh expects fraud involving credit card, e-wallet and online banking transactions to increase during the sales period.

“The increase in frequency is largely due to the lack of security awareness, ignorant mindsets, poor personal security devices (mobile phone, tablet, laptop) and the increase in digitisation.

“Naturally, as more people shop online, attackers have more victims. So, with the huge increase in volume in terms of transactions and logs, credit card companies will struggle to keep pace in monitoring or even identifying fraudulent transactions if they don’t have proper fraud blocking strategies in place, ” he said.

Goh advised shoppers to monitor their online transactions by ensuring the banks have the right information and send them alerts when they make an online transaction.

“Consumers must also be careful when revealing personal information or details on websites, ” he said.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity and anti-virus provider company Kaspersky corporate communications head for APAC Jesmond Chang said there was also a likelihood of fraudsters using different kinds of malware to dupe online buyers.

Among the malware used, Chang said, were banking trojans that targeted the victims through a range of channels such as emails, pretending to be their bank or online payment service, or fake websites with malicious links or content that would automatically be downloaded onto the visitors’ computers.

He advised consumers to have an updated security solution when shopping online, avoid buying from dubious websites and not to click on unknown links in emails or social media messages.

Additionally, Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said sellers would be looking to increase sales by taking advantage of consumers looking for cheaper goods.

Nadzim urged consumers to be wary and not fall for such marketing gimmicks.

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