December 7, 2023

Consumers who are fond of novelty items and high value food products have been warned anew to be wary when shopping online.

Police Regional Office-Cordillera Regional Anti-Cyber Crime Unit (RACU) Director, Col. Maria Theresa Pucay said online shoppers should double check the identity of the sellers they are transacting with.

Pucay said among the items that bogus online sellers usually offer their potential victims are novelty, recycled, or upcycled items such as fashion accessories and high value products such as coffee and heirloom rice from the Cordillera.

She said scammers copy the products posted online by legitimate sellers and present these as their own.

“They also copy the logo of legitimate sellers then change the contact information that appear on the logo to their contact details and use this in their illegal activity,” Pucay said.

She said a large number of the cybercrime complaints received by the RACU involve online selling. Of the 101 cybercrime cases received by the office from January to September, Pucay said 11 involve online selling.

Last year, the RACU recorded 24 online selling complaints out of the 112 cybercrime cases the office received.

If victimized by online scammers, Pucay said the victims should preserve the information on their phone or the gadget where the transaction occurred and submit these to the law enforcement agencies to be used as evidence in the filing of cases.

For cases involving financial remittances, Pucay has advised the victims to pursue the filing of a case even if their money has been returned to them.

She said there are complainants who no longer pursue the filing of a case when the remittance centers reimburse the money they lost to a scammer.

Pucay said scammers will continue committing crimes if they are not sued and held accountable for their wrongdoing.

Aside from the PNP, consumers who are not satisfied with the products they purchased online either because they received the wrong item or defective can file their complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry.

DIT-Cordillera Director Juliet Lucas said three of the four complaints the agency receives nowadays involve products that were bought online.

The DTI and its partner-agencies are spearheading the celebration of this year’s Consumer Welfare Month. – Jane B. Cadalig