Like many other industries, the eCommerce and retail landscape has also witnessed transformation, following the increase in internet penetration in Nigeria. Consumers now shop online, causing more people to take their businesses online, either through owned websites or online stores via social media.
According to Statista, in 2019, the number of online shoppers in Nigeria reached 76.6 million. Unfortunately, this rapid increase in online shoppers has also led to an increase in online shopping scams.
Online shopping scams involve fraudsters pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake social media account. While many online sellers are legitimate, scammers use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers. They open these online stores for a short time, often selling fake branded clothing or jewellery pictures stolen from other pages or the internet. They typically sell at much lower prices than the normal prices sold by other legitimate sellers to lure unsuspecting victims. After making a number of sales, the stores disappear.
If you have been scammed by an online vendor, there are still ways that you can recover your money.
How to recover your money after being scammed
- Take a screenshot of the conversation you had with the online vendor on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).
- Copy out the full name and account details of the vendor who scammed you.
- If you made the transfer via your mobile app or SMS, go to your transaction history and copy out the “Transaction ID Number” of that transaction.
- All banks have a team in charge of online fraud. Send an email to your bank’s E-fraud team as well as the online scammer’s bank, with proof of the transactions and forward a copy of the mail to CBN FRAUD DESK. This will help the bank to place the scammers account on hold.
- With this, the scammer will not be able to carry out any transaction until they visit the bank.
- If you don’t have their email address, you can walk into your bank or the scammer’s bank, and speak to the customer service in charge of fraud to file a complaint.
- Your bank will direct you on the steps to recover your money.
- Report to the police and also speak to a lawyer to file an expert court order. With a court order, the bank will release the information of your scammer to the police to help track them and recover your money.
While these steps will help you recover your money, it is also advisable to protect yourself from online scams on social media.
- You can look out for reviews on the page before shopping.
- Avoid vendors that have a no-refund policy.
- Scammers also defraud people online through giveaways on their pages that ask you to send money before getting the item that you won. Avoid such giveaways.
Why this matters
Social media platforms have become major targets for scammers. It is necessary for people to take precautionary steps before shopping online to avoid falling prey to online shopping scams.