MIRI: Bintang Megamall Miri has called on members of the public not to be duped into buying ‘discounted’ gadgets being offered for sale online to avoid falling victim to scammers.
Its operations manager, Alex Yii told a press conference yesterday that the name of the mall and its tenants had recently been used to perpetrate an online sales scam.
“It started on June 3 when an individual contacted our marketing department through Facebook wanting to verify whether a Facebook page he had visited was operating a shop at Bintang Megamall. After we checked, we found out that there is no such shop (at the mall).
“What followed was a few more queries from different individuals from places like Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, as well as Batu Niah and Bintulu, all of whom had been scammed.
“They were all cheated by the same tactics, where the ‘seller’ offers smartphone at only half, or less than half, of the original price. Some of the gadgets are Iphone 7 Plus and Samsung S8.”
According to Yii, after customers transferred money to the scammer, the latter would block the customer and refuse to make any refund after the customers failed to get their hand on the paid items.
He said the mall management lodged its first police report on the same day (June 3) and again the following day (June 4) after receiving similar complaints via Facebook.
“In fact, similar scams have cheated many in Peninsular Malaysia. They (scammers) chose Miri to continue duping those in Peninsular Malaysia because many of the Peninsular Malaysians don’t know Miri.
“We thought that after the police reports were lodged, the matter would end but we had underestimated these scammers. They merely changed the name of their Facebook page and continue perpetrating their scams,” he said.
Meanwhile, a tenant at Bintang Megamall also said that several victims had either contacted him or visited his shop after they were instructed to collect the smartphones they had purchased online from his shop.
“These victims told us that they had paid for the discounted gadgets and were told to personally get the items here,” said the tenant, who clarified that his shop never sells items through Facebook or WhatsApp.
He, too, has lodged a police report over the matter and urged those who had been scammed to do the same, adding that several other electronic and mobile phone shops in the mall have also had their store names used by scammers.
Yii went on to remind those who frequently shop online to be more cautious, saying that scammers would resort to all kinds of tactics to cheat unsuspecting people.
“It is only by practising careful shopping habits that can prevent one from being cheated.
“It is best if online shoppers take the initiative to verify the authenticity of the seller by checking with their friends first,” he said.
Source: The Borneo Post
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