(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat -
As more and more people are making use of online platforms to buy and sell items, scammers are increasingly targeting gullible users in the country to give out their personal details such as bank account and ID card numbers.
These platforms, offering buy and sell services for things ranging from household items to cars, are used not only by prospective buyers and sellers but also by conmen who look to make some easy cash. They make endless phone calls and send out enticing emails to lure people.
Govind, a resident of Ghubra, wanted to sell his furniture that was almost a year old. He opted for a popular website and posted his ad with the price and some images.
Govind said, 'I have been selling and buying things online for years but this is the first time where I encountered such a nuisance. As soon as I posted the ad, I got an SMS enquiring if the furniture was still on sale and I was requested to reply to an email ID provided in the message. I did, and following that emails were exchanged between us during which time he asked my details like home address, with street and house numbers. Then he said that he was on a ship and won't be able to come but his assistant would come and collect the goods. He asked me to send him my bank account details so that he could immediately make the payment and he added that he would be instructing a shipping agent to collect the goods from my address.'
Govind added that such weird requests made him suspicious and he didn't reply to the emails.
'However, I am anxious that the scammer now has my contact details like phone number, e-mail ID and home address, and if this information could be used to hack into my phone or email or blackmailing me.'
A similar case was also noted by a Ruwi businessman Irfan Khan who runs a watch shop. He said, 'I wanted to sell my old laptop for a decent price. I got a response where a person contacted me through WhatsApp. The phone number was not a local number. He persuaded me to send my bank details which I did and he sent me RO10. He said he would send me the balance later after I hand over the laptop to a contact.
'After a few days a man came to my shop asking for the laptop and said that his friend would pay the balance immediately. He was polite and well dressed but I smelt a rat. I gave back the RO10.'
If sellers are under threat, so are buyers. There are instances when people take things at face value and pay money without even verifying the products.
One such buyer said, 'I wanted to buy a mobile phone and paid the money, but when I received the phone the battery was dead and the screen was broken.'