3 Ways You Can Get Scammed During The Pandemic And How To Prevent It

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Aside from staying safe, we must also be vigilant. These individuals share how they were taken advantage of during the pandemic.

Related: An Abundance Of Singles In The Pandemic Dating Scene

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t get nicer during a global pandemic. We have to deal with the rise of COVID-19 cases and severe cultural classism, while dealing with the growing number of online scammers. The concept of scams have been around even before Catholicism became a religion. So, at this point we should know how to deal with them already right? Wrong. Like the times, scammers have evolved immensely. This time around they’ve perfected their schemes to fit the ongoing protocols imposed due to the spread of the coronavirus. It’s harder to be keen without the option of checking on the product before purchasing. That’s why we got the advise from three individuals who have been victims of a pandemic scam. Besides, the best way to learn is through experience and these three have definitely experienced the worst of it.

COVID-19, scammed, Shopee, Lazada, Delivery, Online Shopping, pandemic

Fake Deliveries and Bookings
There are two ways fake delivery scams are being done during the pandemic. The more popular version of this scam is done by the customer. A recorded event of this was shared online by Shemae Ilano, who saw first hand the fake bookings done by her neighbor. Delivery couriers everywhere are becoming victims of this scam and are being asked to pay for the COD transactions that did not push through.

On the other hand, Jay Jazo almost fell victim to a fake delivery scam. Earlier last month, a fake Shopee delivery man knocked on the door of Jazo’s home. He claimed that he has a COD package worth P 3,499. The package had Jazo’s full name, address, but was missing the official Shopee barcode. Jazo was quick to realize it was a scam and asked the fake delivery man to walk away.

COVID-19, scammed, Shopee, Lazada, Delivery, Online Shopping, pandemic

How to prevent it?
Whenever dealing with e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, or Beauty MNL, consider the cashless transactions that can be paid through GCash or bank deposit. If you aren’t comfortable with this, make sure you double check all your deliveries. Look for the order number, bar code scan, and track with your mobile phone. For those of you who want to help the couriers who are being scammed, you can join the Official Order Hero group on Facebook to save the false bookings.

“I chose to help even in the simplest way because I was inspired by my daughter Elia, who is a youth advocate. That’s why we (as a family) will do as much as we can to do our part in the community. Hopefully, those who are considering of pulling of this scam can realize the wrong in it through our story. Think about all the riders who sacrifice their lives everyday for the sake of their families.”

– Shemae Ilano, Entrepreneur and witness

False or Misleading Representation
James, a 26 year old photographer, was a victim of false representation. Like many of us, he joined the online buy and sell group of his alma mater during the pandemic. Not so long ago, he was in search of a shower glass enclosure as a part of his apartment makeover project. For this enclosure, he was willing to spend a large sum of money for stainless material.

Not so luckily, he was recommended to a fellow alumni who was selling the enclosure he needed. After spending a heft amount of P 40,000, the item was delivered– except it wasn’t what he was expecting. The enclosure wasn’t stainless and was not installed as promised. James called the seller, but was left on an unanswered ring.

COVID-19, scammed, Shopee, Lazada, Delivery, Online Shopping, pandemic

How to prevent it?

“There’s no easy way to deal with scammers, they will try to do anything to trick you. Let alone, my experience was recommended by a friend who lowered my guard down. For a service transaction, it is normal to give a downpayment before the booking, but don’t go beyond 50%. Also, check whether the person or the company would allow you to book the service without having to give a downpayment. I would personally go for the latter in which payment would be paid after the service has been done.”

James, Photographer and victim

The No Show
I’ll be honest. The next story is about a personal experience I went through recently. I was able to learn about the aforementioned scams, because many of my friends and family members reached out after I shared my scam story online.

My scam story started when I was in search for a pet pug online. I’ve been a member of pug selling communities on Facebook for a long time now, but only decided to buy a pug last week. To be smart about buying online, I asked for the help of a friend who was a professional breeder. He didn’t breed pugs, so he helped me look for a seller. After much searching, we saw a seller online who provided us with all the necessary documents we asked for. Then, we settled on the pug and I paid for reservation. The next day the seller asked for an additional delivery service, because she said she’ll be able to deliver the pug earlier than the expected day. I paid the delivery fee and scheduled for a pick-up the next day. Excitedly, I went to our pick-up venue and waited for nothing.

How to prevent it?
Whenever you’re being scammed, you don’t know you’re being scammed. That’s why it’s a scam after all. Whether it’s scammed in love or scammed with money, there’s a level of mindfulness we need to always maintain. In my situation, I lowered my guard down because I completely trusted in my friend and I have an unrealistically positive look towards people. Although, at the end of the day it’s still my fault because I wasn’t careful.

“My advice is to all of you is to ask a lot of questions. As a buyer, you have the right to make sure the item you’re buying is what you think it is. You can even ask the seller to send a picture of a government I.D. as evidence. A trustworthy seller would have no problem disclosing this type of information. And, of course, trust your gut always.”

– Mika Reyes, Writer and victim