Be extra cautious when making a cash-on-delivery purchase.
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You’re online shopping and find a great deal for a watch that typically retails triple that amount. The seller is responsive to your queries and their shop looks legitimate with positive reviews.
However, you’re worried that you may not receive the product, so you opt for Cash on Delivery (COD) so that you will only pay once the product is actually in your hands.
When you finally receive your order, you pay and do the much-anticipated unboxing.
Much to your dismay, you’ve received either a fake or completely different item.
Surprise! You’ve been scammed!
COD Scams: The what and how
Adzim Halim, CEO of tech-enabled express logistic company Ninja Van Malaysia, tells us that COD scams have been on the rise especially since lockdown and the pandemic with everyone turning to online shopping.
The modus operandi is to lure customers to pay for an item they did not purchase or that did not meet their expectations.
Adzim says scammers are getting more sophisticated by posing as legitimate online sellers on their fake websites or placing fake ads on social media.
Logistic companies like Ninja Van don’t actually have direct contact with these scammers as a majority are based overseas.
What happens is the scammer will send their products to freight forwarders. These middlemen will then send out the product through local courier services.
These courier services then deliver the parcels to your doorstep, collect the cash on behalf of the freight forwarders who then remit the cash to their shippers.
What’s being done?
Adzim tells us that upon receiving reports on COD scams, Ninja Van Malaysia typically facilitates refunds out of goodwill. In addition, they also:
- Black list identified scammers by working together and maintaining close relations with their freight forwarders.
- Strict vetting processes on all local shippers during the onboarding process which include collecting copies of their SSM documents as well as details on their directors.
It is impossible however to completely eliminate COD scams and black listing a scammer is not a 100% foolproof solution as they may own multiple online stores or use more than one shipping consolidator.
Don’t fall for COD scams!
Just recently, a woman in Negeri Sembilan by the name of Norashikin Othman took to her Facebook to share an experience of how she almost fell for a COD Scam.
She wrote about how she thought the package felt too light like it was empty and refused the delivery.
Now, here’s how you could avoid falling for COD scams:
- If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is.
- If you’ve ordered a COD parcel, make sure to tell everyone at home. Make it a common practice not to to accept and pay for anything unless told.
- Buying from a seller for the first time? Do your research to ensure they are established and can be trusted. Reviews can be faked, so do a bit of sleuthing on online forums to see if anyone else has bought from them.
- Keep track of all your purchases so you know what you’ve ordered and don’t accept parcels you may not have been expecting – especially if you have to pay COD.
- Reach out to the logistics company in question if you encounter any suspicious COD cases.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.