By Yao Yue-hung and Jason Pan / Staff reporters
Many online shopping sites put customers at risk of fraud, with thousands of people being targeted in telephone scams after buying online, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officials said on Monday.
Bureau data showed that 2,725 fraud cases were reported in the second quarter of this year related to Taiwan’s leading online bookseller, books.com.tw, while 477 fraud reports were filed related to the Taiwanese Web site of French sporting goods retailer Decathlon Group.
CIB officials have demanded that these e-commerce sites improve security to protect their customers’ personal information, and said the bureau is investigating the fraud cases.
Customers of Eslite’s online bookstore reported 252 incidents of fraud during the same period, while 163 cases were filed by users of shopping.friday.tw and 119 for the Singaporean e-commerce site Shopee.
“Almost all of the cases involved customers receiving telephone calls from people claiming to be customer service staff from the businesses,” the CIB said. “The various scams work by getting people to ‘resend’ a payment, or make a new transaction.”
The scammer usually says that a transaction error had occurred, there was a mistake in setting up an installment plan, or says the company is offering a VIP upgrade or a free gift, officials said.
Some try to convince a target to buy point cards at convenience stores, or through an online banking service or mobile app, they said.
Investigators said that scammers obtain customer information from e-commerce businesses’ databases, which are often managed by third-party information technology companies and show customers’ online shopping histories and methods of payment.
The bureau reviews which companies have the most reported cases weekly to determine the sources of leaked or hacked customer information, and to notify businesses, it said, adding that it provides companies forms to evaluate their security and detail the leaked data.
It is asking online shopping sites to place warnings of potential telephone scams prominently on their Web sites, along with a list of legitimate customer service numbers and operating hours, and also send out text messages warning customers, it said.
The bureau would also regularly announce the e-commerce sites with the highest known incidents of scams, officials said.
People should watch out for telephone numbers beginning with +2 or +886, which are known for being used by fraudsters, it said.
People should also be alert for callers who discuss duplicated payments, canceling a payment through an ATM, VIP upgrades and similar topics. They should hang up immediately and report the call to the CIB on its 165 anti-fraud hotline if they suspect fraud.
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