css-14iz86j-BoldText {font-weight: bold;} has kicked off Singles’ Day, the world’s largest online shopping event, where consumers are estimated to be spending billions of dollars – scammers watch most of them

This year’s event is set to continue to break records across Asia, as more people stay home and shop online amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while those unable to travel abroad for shopping trips are expected to “take revenge” via Internet

It’s a huge draw for fraudsters who over the years have come up with increasingly creative ways to deceive consumers, from creating fake apps to allegations of clothes dampened with formaldehyde

Authorities from several provinces including Anhui, Jiangsu and Sichuan have issued warnings on the Weibo social media platform about a phone scam to “retrieve the fake money”

How it works: Someone impersonating a customer service official from an e-commerce site calls the victim to inform him that a recent purchase is either out of stock or damaged, and that as compensation he will give him a refund which is more than the amount he paid

He then asks the victim for the bank account details so he can “process the refund”

Police say they have actually seen several of these cases in the past few weeks during the pre-Singles Day sale.

A woman in Yunnan Province recently lost a total of 200,000 yuan ($ 30,000; £ 22,900) recently after being tricked into believing that she would recover 200 yuan worth of clothes she bought on the Taobao e-commerce platform

She had transferred money to the scammers several times after being told there were problems with their system, and that she would have to pay to unfreeze her account

In 2018, fraudsters were reported to impersonate customer service officers offering refunds on clothes that were said to have been destroyed by excessive formaldehyde. A woman in Wuxi city lost 44,000 yuan ($ 7,000) in this way, after she scanned a QR code. Sent by a fraudster who requested her bank details

Last year, a formaldehyde scam was modified to trick mothers into believing that the chemical had contaminated their diaper requests

Other scams include fake shopping apps, which are designed to look and function like those used by retailers like Taobao and JD.com. Since they look so similar to the real deal, victims are tricked into providing personal information like cell phone numbers and bank account details.

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According to a 2018 report by Chinese cybersecurity company 360 Security Brain, nearly 4,000 fake shopping apps were downloaded on more than 300,000 mobile devices in China in November of that year

There have also been reports of cash-on-delivery package fraud, in which confused family members are required to pay cash in advance when signing for parcels delivered to their door

Singles’ Day is the world’s largest online shopping event by spending, generating huge revenue from Chinese online retail giant Alibaba.

Last year, their Singles’ Day merchandise totaled more than 210 billion yuan (23 billion pounds, 31 billion US dollars), which is twice the value of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday combined this year. Alibaba claims to have achieved worth of sales. 372 billion yuan in the first 30 minutes of the event, including pre-orders for Singles’ Day

Originally created by the company as a Chinese shopping festival, it has now expanded across the region with other online retailers in countries like Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines having their own copies

Also known as Double 11, it is held annually on November 11th, and the Shopping Festival offers buyers huge discounts on everything from household items and fashion accessories to cars and even homes

The sheer number of transactions during this period provides fraudsters with great opportunities, and fraudulent e-commerce activities have seen “massive growth” during the sales period across Asian countries last year, according to data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky

Mr Yu Siang Tiong, General Manager, Southeast Asia, said that victims often fall prey to Singles’ Day scams because they are “preoccupied with excitement” while trying to get the best deals

“In addition, many phishing scams in particular have become quite convincing, making it difficult for consumers to differentiate fact from fiction,” he said.

Never disclose important personal information such as phone bank account details E-commerce platforms like Taobao usually have customer bank information already saved in their system, so refunds should be processed automatically

Fake scams often give you more money back than what you paid for, which rarely happens in real situations. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For online phishing, double check the web addresses if you are redirected to them from other landing pages, as Mr. Yeo from Kaspersky said, or try to access the deal pages directly from the legitimate website

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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-54898680