The rising popularity of online shopping appears to have triggered a new downside – fake marketplaces. Unscrupulous elements have taken to cheating unsuspecting buyers to make a quick buck by posing as online marketplaces and pretending to sell online. Buyers assume the websites to be genuine, and place orders. They end up waiting for their orders indefinitely if they have opted for cash on delivery. If buyers choose to pay through their cards, then they invariably fall prey to the fraudsters who misuse the card details to swindle money.
The cheats are striking in places like Mumbai and Pune. Those most vulnerable to these fake online sellers are the ones who submit their card details. Sandeep Gadiya, cyber crime investigator says that even if the ‘sellers’ refund the money; they already have the card details, which is dangerous enough.
He says, “Buyers end up punching in their card information into the portal to make a purchase and have their credit card compromised. In some cases, as soon as the credit card information is given on the portal, users get a message saying that the product is out of stock. Fraudsters go a step ahead and refund the amount, but they still have the user's credit card information which is used later to extract money from the victim's account.”
Most experts caution buyers to verify the source of the website before placing orders or giving out critical card information. “Verify the authenticity of the website from where you are purchasing. If you are in doubt, don't buy,” says Kirtar Oza, cyber crime expert.
Indian online sellers should take necessary precautions to reassure buyers of their genuineness. Once a buyer loses faith in a site, they will stay away, and also caution their social circle against buying at the site.
One way to build trust is to have multiple security circles. Encourage buyers to leave reviews and positive feedback, which helps other buyers. Sale during the festive season is bound to be high, so online sellers should take prudent steps to ensure they are able to make the most of it.
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