It is not for the first time and won’t be the last. Residents in the UAE have been getting ripped off of their hard-earned money very easily by scammers in the garb of sham online shopping ventures. A survey report pointed out that nearly 88% of UAE residents have been targeted by e-scams. 85% of them even didn’t report it to concerned authorities. This high number shows that they don’t have any faith in the law enforcements departments to address such crimes.
In a recent activity of online shopping scams, more than 40 UAE residents have lost their money to an online shopping website based in Dubai’s Deira district. The website was even registered as a Trading company with the Department of Economic Development (DED).
More than 20 victims reported the scam to an online news portal. Each victim has spent Dh1500 to Dh8000 on shopping through this scam website. The owner of the website and the company enlisted on the DED fled the scene soon after several complaints from the victims were lodged to the concerned departments.
Most of the Victims are Smartphone Shoppers
Many of the victims have been found to have ordered smartphones from the website. One expat ordered a high-end Smartphone from the website and made the payment. Several weeks after placing the order, he still didn’t receive the phone. He tried to contact them through calls and emails but didn’t get any answer. He even went to visit the company’s physical address in Dubai, but was greeted with a closed office. It is worth mentioning that most of the victims got conned through the website’s ads on Facebook.
Offered Discounted Prices to Lure the Victims
The website uses the bait of offering discounted prices for smartphones to lure unsuspecting victims. Another victim reported that he elected a special discounted iPhone deal, and he never received the phone.
Some victims did receive the orders they had placed but there were faults in the products. The ordered items were secondhand or not working properly. So the victims asked for refunds. Unfortunately for them, there was no response from the website.
The website is not working anymore and the mastermind behind the scam has also b disappeared. It has been reported that the same scammer owns another online shopping website. However, it is still unclear whether this website is also being used to cone people. Nevertheless, the website has been blocked by authorities.
Online Scammers are Taking Legitimate Measures
It is an alarming situation that these online shopping frauds are not being carried out by remote websites without any physical existence. The online shopping scam in question has been done through a company with a formal office and DED registration.
It shows that scammers are not much afraid of law enforcement departments and work explicitly to con people. It’s even difficult for customers to identity sham online shopping ventures when they are taking all the legitimate measures to carry out their scam.
In such an environment, where scammers are acting openly and nothing much has been done by the officials, customers have to become more vigilant on their own to protect themselves.
There are several pointers that you should look for to identify an online shopping scam.
Extraordinary Cheap Prices
To attract more customers into their trap, most online shopping scams sell at very low prices compared to their legit market price.
Suspicious Domain Name
Most of the authentic online ventures have simple domain names. If you see extra words and characters in the domain such as ‘deals’ or ‘super discounts’ then it is better to check the safety ratings of such websites from Google. Google’s Transparency Report is a valuable tool to access the authenticity of any website.
Shady Contact Information
Many such ventures don’t use actual physical addresses and only operate through web addresses, emails and phone numbers. It is better to avoid dealing with businesses that doesn’t exist on a physical address.
Ambiguous Refund Policy
A reliable venture will provide a clear guideline on their website about their refund policy. On the other hand, fake online scams don’t mention clear refund procedures. Many of them don’t even have this section on their website.
Poor Web Design
Since they know that their website will be shut down in few months or that they just don't intend on keeping it around for very long (known as 'fly by night'), they won't pay attention to the details and design of the landing page. Websites that look like is was poorly thrown together and/or it has only a few pages (if that much) as well as potental inattentive product placement should definetly alert you that this site is a red flag and proceed with caution or leave the site altogether.