Just go to any site selling used products and there they are: the ads offering cell phones. The problem is that, in addition to attracting consumers, the lower price on models that are still popular in the market also attracts criminals. Among the smartphones most targeted by scammers are iPhones.
Apple devices account for 70% of scams involving cellphone ads, according to a survey released by OLX, online buying and selling platforms. To attract victims, fraudsters usually advertise cell phones about 14% cheaper than ads made by reputable users, according to the survey, carried out in partnership with AllowMe, a platform for protecting digital identities.
The estimated loss from the scams applied to e-commerce in the first quarter of this year was approximately R$ 39.7 million. Cell phones lead the ranking of the most targeted products in fraud, representing 40% of the total, followed by video games (19%) and computers (12%).
The survey highlights that the iPhone 11 is at the top of the list of Apple devices preferred by crooks, followed by:
- iPhones XR
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
“Mobile phones are historically highly targeted by fraudsters, as they have a high value and are easy to resell. With the increase in demand for these items, scams tend to increase. Therefore, it is important for people to redouble their attention when negotiating products. Scammers take advantage of users’ lack of knowledge to deceive them”, says Beatriz Soares, director of product and operations at OLX.
Also according to the study, most victims who fall into scams are men (70%) and are up to 31 years old (77%). The state of São Paulo was the one that most recorded fraud with 30% of the total, followed by Rio de Janeiro (16%).
The survey analyzed data from the Brazilian digital market, including websites, apps and digital accounts from January to March this year, on a base of around 20 million accounts opened on online platforms.
Check out the most common scams below.
Leading the ranking of most applied moves last year with 32%, the Confirmed Purchase move is an update to the old Empty Envelope move.
With the increase in digital banking transactions, today the fraudster makes a false proof of deposit with the victim’s data and sends it by email or messaging application, making the person believe that the amount has already been deposited and the sale proceeds are delivered.
When the victim realizes the scam, the fraudster already has the product and stops responding to messages.
The scammer makes an advertisement for a product on the buying and selling platforms to attract victims. Most of the time, the product is cheaper than the market value. Imagining it to be a real offer, the victim makes the payment and does not receive the product.
With the increase in demand, there has also been an increase in the number of fake websites, which advertise new cell phones with values far below the market in order to attract customers.
Platforms also usually point out that there are few units of the product and that the offer lasts only a few hours, encouraging people to pay quickly. After payment confirmation, the item is never shipped to buyers. Days later the site goes down, in most cases.
How to prevent scams
To prevent these types of scams, users need, above all, to redouble their attention when shopping online.
- It is important to research about the virtual store and check complaints sites if there are already records from other users.
- Also, always be wary of very low prices.
- When accessing an e-commerce site, make sure there is a padlock located next to the link address. This symbol indicates that the content of the page and the data that will be entered in it have ‘traveled’ securely between the web server, thus reducing the risk of being false.
- Also check that the URLs have “https”. This indicates using stricter security protocols.
- Never give personal data to strangers. Some criminals claim to be from the company to steal information from victims.
- Do not click on suspicious links and pay attention to messages with Portuguese errors. This is a sign that these are unofficial announcements.