June 25, 2024

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There has been a rampant surge of scam syndicates delivering unsolicited goods to people’s doorsteps and demanding money in return. Even frequent customers of renowned e-commerce platforms based in the capital aren’t spared. These fraudsters are known to pilfer personal information from the darker corners of the internet. Their preferred victims? Regular online shoppers.

Surprisingly, individuals who order multiple items only find out about these unwarranted deliveries charged on a cash-on-delivery basis only upon opening the packages. Unbeknownst to them, these unwanted packages are often delivered and paid for. These deceitful deliveries are usually made through courier services, such as ‘Delhivery’.

According to cyber experts, the fraudsters are employing the brushing scam – a technique to inflate product popularity and boost sales via counterfeit consumer reviews. Consequently, recipients find cheap and subpar cosmetics, jewelry, medications, and old books among their packages.

Scam Operation Explained:

Personal details like names, email ids, addresses, and ages are maliciously procured from the dark web or social media platforms. These details are then utilized to compromise existing accounts or create phony e-commerce accounts. Products are ordered through these sham accounts, and once the unsuspecting customer receives the order, the cybercriminal proceeds to post glowing reviews of the product under the same account. Such tactics help boost the company’s reputation and the product’s image which often leads to customers settling payments for undesired items that lack a return option. Foreign residents and the elderly who may lack knowledge about return options can become easy targets. Though companies like Flipkart do allow customers to inspect packages upon delivery, smaller platforms might not provide this service.

Information Leakage

Through information garnered from the dark web, customers’ e-commerce accounts are surveilled. Information such as individual’s shopping preferences, frequency of purchases, wishlist items, payment methods, among others is leaked. In cases where online payments are selected, hackers dispatch details including the shipping charges ahead of time.

Not All Can Be Trusted

  • Do not automatically trust every e-commerce platform you come across on social media.
  • If you end up receiving an item that you did not order, immediately get in touch with the e-commerce platform after identifying the courier’s address.
  • Routinely updating your account passwords is highly recommended. Cyber Helpline: 1930 for further assistance.