A resident has fallen victim to an online shopping scam for facemasks through social media, the Judiciary Police (PJ) said in a statement on Wednesday, warning the public to be careful when buying goods on the Internet.
According to the statement, the Judiciary Police recently received a report from the Hong Kong Anti-Deception Coordination Centre, pointing out that there have been multiple cases of online fraud over the selling of facemasks in Hong Kong.
The statement pointed out that the local victim ordered 500 facemasks through a social media platform, but didn’t receive them despite paying the seller a deposit amounting to several thousand patacas.
The statement said that after paying the deposit, the victim received an online message from the seller saying that the order didn’t go through because of insufficient cash, demanding that the victim pay the remaining amount to receive the order, at the same time offering the victim a refund in case the transaction was unsuccessful.
The statement said that the victim, whose gender was not revealed by the police, became suspicious and asked for a refund but failed to receive a reply. The victim then reported the case to the police.
The statement urged the public to avoid buying facemasks from unknown channels and to buy them instead from shops in person if possible. The statement also urged the public to be vigilant when doing online shopping.
The statement also gave the public tips on how not to fall victim to scams, such as to buy only from a reputable website or online shop, choose an online shop that also operates a physical store, avoid making advance payment when transactions are made with an individual seller and check the quality and quantity on the spot, keep relevant online chat records and bank transfer records, and report to the police immediately if suspecting of being cheated.
The statement urged the public to call fraud prevention hotline 8800 7777 for enquiries.