A House leader is prodding the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to take action against the increasing number of what called "budol-budol" online selling scams.
Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said that these types of scams victimize low-income consumers whose preferred online shopping method is to pay for items via cash on delivery (COD).
He said scammers would review previous records from their target victims' social media accounts, steal their personal data, and send them low-value or worthless items.
The delivery riders tapped to send the worthless items are usually instructed not to allow the opening of the package, unless payment had been made by the unsuspecting victims. If the package was opened before the delivery rider leaves and was rejected, the victim would be required to pay return to sender (RTS) fees.
“I have received numerous reports of people victimized by online scammers who steal personal data from targeted victims’ Facebook, messenger or other social media accounts and use them to deliver bogus goods to victims, some of whom did not even order such goods,” Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said.
To prevent occurrence of such scams and protect online buyers, Barbers said the DTI and other concerned offices should compel all online delivery service firms in the country to thoroughly check the identity of all online sellers transacting business with them.
He said these platforms should require the online sellers to produce valid documents such as government-issued identification cards so that consumers can get back at them if necessary.
Barbers said delivery and shipping companies should also observe the same measure.
"Sa mga legit na online sellers, may option ang online buyers/consumers tulad ng pag sauli ng items at makakuha ng refund kung mali o bogus yung nai-deliver sa kanila (Legit online seller give their buyers/ consumers through option to return the items or seek a refund in case they get delivered wrong or bogus items)," he noted.
The Mindanaoan said majority of the victims, some of whom he knew personally, had been duped by amounts ranging from P100 to P5,000 and more often than not would just “charge to experience" the modus operandi.
"Karamihan ay di na nag-iisip na mag-reklamo para mag-refund o pumunta pa sa otoridad tulad ng PNP (Philippine National Police) at NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) dahil baka daw mas lalo pa lumaki ang gastos nila (Most of them choose not to seek a refund or got the authorities like the PNP and NBI to complain because they'll spend more money in the end),” he explained.