However, it is important for users to be aware that the Internet is also giving new life to a lot of scams.
Fraudsters have been around for years, but the internet has given them a new way to steal from people through playing fraudulent tactics.
It has been noted that every year millions of people use Western Union Money Transfer service to send money to support family members back home, rescue travelers in emergencies or keep their businesses operating smoothly. However, most people in PNG involved in shopping online have been victims of online scams.
Two of the most common scams that can occur when buying or selling items online are the "overpayment scam" and the "online purchase scam."
In the overpayment scam, the criminal sends you a check as payment for a service or product such as office supplies or clothing. The check is typically for more than the purchase price, and the thief asks you to cash the check, keep the portion owed to you and perhaps a little extra for your trouble, and send the rest of the money to them right away.
Waiting to send the cash might help you catch the scam, but if you send the money right away, you’ll find the check ultimately bounces, leaving you responsible to the bank for the full amount, plus any penalties. Therefore, confirm the receipt of your check before sending money away!
In the online purchase scam, a seemingly legitimate seller asks you to wire money for a product, auction item or service. Once he or she receives the money, you’ll never get your purchased item or service.
You can avoid becoming a victim of a scam when buying or selling online.
Western Union offers a few tips:
-Only send money to people you know and trust. Never send money to someone you met over the Internet or to someone you’ve never actually met and dealt with in person unless the transfer method is proved against frauds.
-If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is
-Never send funds from a check in your account until that check officially clears, which can take weeks. Likewise, never send funds from a money order until it clears.
-Don’t send a money transfer to pay for online purchases. Reputable, honest online merchants will accept your credit card and will never pressure you to send funds immediately in order to secure a deal.
Other scams are less high tech but can be just as effective. For example, you may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a relative or friend. The caller claims to need money immediately because of an emergency, and convinces you to send the funds. This scam is often used against seniors by thieves posing as their grandchildren.
If approached through e-mail or phone by a friend, family member or acquaintance asking for money for an emergency situation, verify the person’s identity and that an emergency really exists before you send any funds.