How to Avoid Being Scammed when Buying from Blogshops
Blogshop scams are not uncommon, neither is online scams. In January and February this year, 77 cases of online scam has already been reported. During the same period last year, only half the number was recorded. Scams included small items like clothes, gadgets accessories.
Although not explicitly stated, it can be assumed that popular blogshops/instashops, facebook sellers accounts for a large part of those scams. Although online scams are getting more prevalent, that is not stopping people from spending money online. Below are some case studies of blogshop scams and how you can avoid losing money.
Blogshop Scams Case Studies
Case study 1: 100 victims of 1 girl
Possibly the most popular case in blogshop scam history, this story has been reported on many online news sites and the girl’s name, Hock Jing Er, has been generously splashed across majory news platforms. Using facebook as a platform for her blogshop, she displayed various products like clothes, cameras, shoes and fashion accessories. She did not have the items and after receiving payment from customers, she deactivated her facebook account and closed her bank account.
The 17-year-old was sentenced to 36 months probation after cheating 100 customers $10,827 in total.
Case study 2: Unreasonable seller
Some might not consider this a scam but irresponsible sellers like this one should also be avoided. Seller claims that she has been scammed by supplier and thus is unwilling to refund those who paid to her.
Case study 3: Shop-4more.blogspot.com ring scam
After promising to mail the ring out, no news was heard after 1 week. When the buyer contacted the blogshop owner and request for refund, she replied saying, “I only do meet up for refund . And u have to sign a letter to prove u won’t make a police report against us , we will need ur IC photcopied as to prove.” Note that the seller does not have the right to demand the buyer to do any of the above and this case is clearly a blogshop scam.
More blogshop scam case study evidence at mons-diary.blogspot.sg/2013/02/beware-of-such-scammers.html.
How to Avoid a Scam
Below are some ways in which you can prevent yourself from falling victim to blogshop scams
1. Avoid buying from low authority sites/people/platform
You can gauge the authority of sites almost instinctively. Sites with poor design, lousy layout and without proper checkout system has lower authority and higher risk of fraud compared to sites that look professional with good navigation and proper checkout system is much more reliable. Sites with high authority has invested more time and money compared to sites that look like they can be created in hours.
Buying from ads/micro sites like facebook pages, instashops has higher risk compared to actual ecommerce sites of blogshops. These pages can be created quickly by anyone from anywhere. Although majority of instashops/facebook pages are legit and safe, a minority of scammers has gave these platform a bad name for buying and selling.
Aways look for phone numbers and addresses on the pages/site which features the items so that you can at least make a police report in the event that you encounter a fraud.
2. Check scam prevention platforms/sites
If you suspect that a site/seller is suspicious with potential for fraud, you should check out scam prevention/report sites that allows users to report scammers.
The “Singapore Blogshop Scam Prevention” facebook page provides valuable insights on ongoing scams by blogshops/instashops/facebook pages in Singapore. The admin of the page is also dedicated to help clarify the issue. You can also report scams you have encountered to warn other members.
3. Search for “…. scam”
Although this method may not always help you uncover frauds, it is worth trying. If a blogshop/instashop appears fishy, search for the name of the blogshop + “scam” in google. Note that some of the comments and complains may not be true and is the result of competitor’s slander.
4. Ask on forums
If the methods above does not work, you can try to ask on forums if the site that you want to buy from is reliable. You might get responses from people with similar doubts or past customers/victims of the seller to help you decide whether you should buy.
Forums which are popular for scam discussions include: sgforums.com, forums.sgclub.com, forums.hardwarezone.com.sg.
If all of the above doesn’t work…
Then do not buy form the site. Better be safe than sure. Chances are you can find similar items from more reliable sources. Ask your friends and search on popular ecommerce platforms.
Lastly, you can check out scams-singapore.blogspot.com for any news regarding blogshop scams.