Do you usually sell products over the internet? If so, stay tuned. A very elaborate scam has made new victims, who turn to selling sites to earn extra money. For this, the criminals induce the transaction to be made by the Free Market, one of the main platforms of the segment. Using a lot of lip service and capricious email fraud, they can get sellers to mail products without paying a dime for it.
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This was the case of Anna Castro, who tried to sell an iPhone 7 on the platform. "As soon as I put the free ad on the Free Market and OLX, I got an email and a message inside the site asking for some explanation and wanting to have questions about the device," she says. Shortly afterwards, the alleged buyer went into contact to say that you had performed the transaction.
Then another email: This time confirming the purchase. The proof of payment contained all the details of the buyer. Anna also received shipping label and standard instructions and procedures for Free Market sellers. The problem is that, despite having the same original layout, language and font as the site, the communication was fraudulent. "If you don't pay attention to the email address, you really fall for the scam, he warns.
Criminals use Free Market to scam people who advertise products on the platform Photo: Eduardo Machado / dnetc
Luckily, Anna noticed the fraud before shipping the product. As he had heard about the practice, he checked the email and realized it was fake. The loss would have been R $ 1,862.90. Despite the fright, she did not even contact the Free Market or make a newsletter.
Another victim, who did not want to identify himself, said that for very little did not leave losing $ 1,700. X. even dispatched a Canon t3i camera, but shortly after sending it decided to look at the email again and realized that it was fake. She quickly contacted the Post Office and was able to retrieve the product.
X. says she was misled by the similarity between the content of the fake email and the real one. I was selling at OLX. The guy contacted me, asked for my WhatsApp and asked me to put my product in Mercado Livre because l would be safer because of Mercado Pago, he says.
The victim then sent the ad link on the site to the alleged buyer and received a WhatsApp saying that the purchase had been made and that she would receive a confirmation email shortly, which actually happened. The email was very similar to that of Mercado Livre, the visual identity was all similar. I had never sold anything there, so I didn't know what the money-release thing was like. Because in the email I was saying it would be released as soon as I put the product in the mail, account.
X. also says that the alleged buyer requested that the camera be sent by Sedex. In addition to this expense, she even paid for insurance to ship the product. Then I went to work and got a strange feeling. As I looked more calmly, I realized that the email address was something different, unofficial. I joined my Free Market account and the ad was still active, remember. The victim was able to call the Post Office on time and had the restrained spending on Sedex and insurance.
Scammers use fake Free Market emails to fool victims Photo: Caroline Parreiras
But not everyone was so lucky. In a Facebook post, a victim said she put an iPhone 6s Plus for sale on OLX and received six messages of interest. One of the potential buyers asked WhatsApp to speed up negotiations, saying it had urgency to buy the device. The scammer insisted that the transaction was made by the Free Market and, after receiving the link of the sale of mobile phone on the site, said that the platform was requesting the access email from the seller. The victim then passed on the information.
Shortly after, she received the same messages that were sent to the other victims. Without checking the site itself, and relying only on email, she sent the product, which was received by the gang. But it didn't stop there: Four days later, the seller's inbox came with a request for confirmation of bank details, requesting a two-sided copy of the credit card. Luckily, she didn't send the information, which would be the second stage of the coup.
Suspicious, she tried to contact the fraudulent email with no reply. Then he started looking for other ways to talk to the Free Market, but failed. After discovering the coup, the victim filed a police report and, she said, was warned at the police station that this type of crime is most often unpunished.
A few days later, she again announced on OLX and again was contacted by a person showing interest and claiming urgency. This time, a man, who offered 300 reais more, if the transaction was made by the Free Market. After denying WhatsApp's proposal, and justifying the reason, it was blocked by him in the application.
What the Free Market says
dnetc contacted Mercado Livre, which responded with a note. In the text, the company guides how sellers can be cautious and also advises what to do if contacted by a scammer. Read:
"To ensure a safe trading, Mercado Livre guides its customers to always check the status of their sales and / or purchases in the" My Account "area available to the user logged in. The customer should not consider any message or send the product. before checking your account information and specifically for this channel.
The seller user is also instructed to check the veracity of the e-mail received, to verify if it really has as sender the Free Market or the Paid Market, as indicated on the site.
The company also stresses that, precisely to ensure the security of users, contact data such as email address and mobile number should not be reported to other users directly before the sale through the platform. All of these recommendations are available under the site's Terms & Conditions of Use, and the user may also report a fake email at this link and at the Seller Center, a website intended for the Free Market seller community. "
The well-orchestrated scam is, according to the victims, what most misleads the similarity between the original Free Market email and the fraudulent one. Although it is difficult to detect, the modus operandi of the criminals quite similar. Therefore it is important to watch out for some suspicious behaviors.
Criminals were even asking for victims' WhatsApp before applying the scam. Photo: Fillipe Garret / dnetc
Carlos Affonso, professor at the UERJ Law School, PhD and Master in Civil Law, and Director of the Rio de Janeiro Institute of Technology and Society (ITS Rio), draws attention to small details. He stresses that the fraud itself is not new, which changes to the well-known crimes that scammers use the Free Market directly for financial advantage.
To avoid the scam, the best tip is to watch out. It is essential to check that that message actually comes from the platform. Observe the domain of the email. Criminals can change a letter, add one or more. They are small details that, in a quick analysis, the victim may not realize, attends Affonso.
Another point of extreme importance, according to the expert, is to perform the entire operation within the platform. As pointed out by Mercado Livre in the note sent to dnetc, the seller should not enter the email or WhatsApp number under any circumstances. In addition, Affonso warns that you should not click on suspicious links, watching the URL very carefully.
Finally, the expert says that in cases like this, justice tends not to hold the platform accountable. However, it is important to register a police report, providing as much information as possible to assist in identifying the offender. In some cases, the police may require the IP used to deliver the scam. Therefore, if you are experiencing any such situation, look for a police station that specializes in computer crimes.
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