Surgical Masks Online Shopping Scam
Fraudsters offer to sell surgical masks on online social / shopping platforms. Buyers foot the bill but fail to get any ordered items afterwards.
Stay alert and take heed of the followings prior to online transactions:
- Before conducting transaction to a new seller/ buying from an online shop for the first time, do your research to assess its credibility, even if this seller/ shop is recommended to you by friends. For example:
- Is it a new account?
- Does it have a brick-and-mortar shop?
- Do not trust a page simply because of the numbers of followers and likes. Try to choose websites or pages with commenting function, so that you can browse comments from other customers. Buyers’ comments and ratings can provide valuable insight.
- Check to see if the online shop has any negative reviews. Try to contact other buyers to see if any of them actually completed the transaction successfully or if any of them were scammed.
- Verify the online shop’s credibility by searching the name/ phone number/ bank account number on the internet and see if there are any complaints against the shop or if it has been blacklisted
- For your first time conducting transaction to a new seller/ buying from an online shop, start with a small amount. After you have received the goods you ordered and deem the online shop trustworthy, you can then consider buying in larger quantity.
- Try to conduct the transaction in person or pay upon delivery of goods.
- Record seller’s information (such as account ID but not account name which could be changed) and ask the seller to provide a bank account with easily identifiable details.
- As the date of delivery approaches, contact the seller to enquire if the delivery will be made on time. If the seller cannot be reached, try other methods to verify if this is a scam.
- Do not jump on the bandwagon of buying masks. Pay attention to the news and the general supply of masks on the market. (For example, Taiwan has implemented an export ban on surgical masks. If you see online shops claiming to sell masks from Taiwan in a large quantity, be vigilant.)
- If in doubt, please call the Anti-scam Helpline 18222 immediately.