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Be cautious of suspected fraudulent websites when making direct purchases from overseas shopping sites 2019-02-28

Be cautious of suspected fraudulent websites when making direct purchases from overseas shopping sites

- Consumer damage, such as being out of contact with a business operator, non-delivery of goods, delivery of suspected counterfeit goods, frequently occur -

 

     With the increase in overseas online shopping, consumer damage caused by suspected fraudulent websites (i.e. selling counterfeit goods, being out of contact, etc.) has been also growing significantly, prompting consumers to pay extra caution when purchasing through overseas online websites. At the end of 2018, the number of suspected fraudulent websites* registered on the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal (http://crossborder.kca.co.kr) operated by the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) stood at 470, up 473.2% over the recent three (3) years.

   (2016) 82 (2017) 231 (2018) 470

    * In case where a business operating a suspected fraudulent website does not reply to an e-mail requesting the business to make clarifications with regard to a consumer complaint involving the website received through the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal within 10 days of receipt of the e-mail, the website in question is registered as a suspected fraudulent website on the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal.

 

 

□  In most cases, consumers accessed suspected fraudulent websites through social network sites (Instagram, etc.)

    

    The KCA analysed 1,495 consumer counseling cases* associated with overseas direct purchases through suspected fraudulent websites, which had been received from January 2015 to June 2018, and found that the number of counseling cases had been rapidly grown every year (152 cases in 2015 265 in 2016 617 in 2017 462 in the first half of 2018). Out of the 326 cases whose access routes to the suspected fraudulent websites could be identified, 93.3% accessed those websites via ads on SNS, including Instagram, etc.

    *cases received through the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal (crossborder.kca.go.kr) operated by the KCA, and 1372 Consumer Counseling Center run by the Korea Fair Trade Commission

 

 

 

 

 

<The current status of consumer counseling related to suspected fraudulent sites(by the reasons of filing complaints)>

Classification

2015

2016

2017

the first half of 2018

total

number of case

%

number of case

%

number of case

%

number of case

%

number of case

%

fraud suspision

30

19.7

90

34.0

250

40.5

200

43.3

570

38.1

out of contact

18

11.8

31

11.7

141

22.9

113

24.5

303

20.3

non-deliver·wrong delivery

37

24.4

56

21.1

61

9.8

72

15.6

226

15.1

suspected counterfeit

19

12.5

30

11.3

81

13.1

25

5.4

155

10.4

payment error

15

9.9

31

11.7

36

5.8

24

5.2

106

7.1

site blocked

10

6.6

10

3.8

25

4.1

10

2.2

55

3.7

not refund

9

5.9

12

4.5

12

2.0

15

3.2

48

3.2

free trial

11

7.2

2

0.8

5

0.8

-

-

18

1.1

faulty product

3

2.0

3

1.1

6

1.0

3

0.6

15

1.0

152

100.0

265

100.0

617

100.0

462

100.0

1,496

100.0

 

 

 

By product item, ‘clothes and shoes’ accounted for 41.3% of the consumer counseling cases, followed by ‘bags, accessories, etc. (33.5%).’ And the most common cause for consumer complaints was ‘fraud suspicion (38.1%)*,’ followed by ‘out of contact with a business operator (20.3%)’, ‘non-delivery or wrong delivery (15.1%),’ and ‘suspected counterfeit goods (10.4%).’

    * cases where payments are billed in a different currency (yuan) from the one a consumer saw firstly (dollar), or a consumer becomes aware that the website he/she accessed to purchase a product is a fraudulent website with checking reviews from users, right after he/she made a purchase

 

<The current status of consumer counseling related to suspected fraudulent sites(by product items)>

classification

2015

2016

2017

the first half of 2018

total

clothes·shoes

62

122

235

199

618(41.3)

bags·accessories

30

46

230

195

501(33.5)

IT·appliances

7

11

33

15

66(4.4)

cosmetics

1

27

24

1

53(3.5)

hobby items

12

7

11

13

43(2.9)

household goods

1

8

18

7

34(2.3)

food·medicine supplies

5

12

10

7

34(2.3)

others

4

5

20

20

49(3.3)

unidentified

30

27

36

5

98(6.5)

total

152

265

617

462

1,496(100.0)

 

73.7% of suspected fraudulent websites are out of contact.

 

    Among the suspected fraudulent websites registered on the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal, the KCA investigated 184 websites currently in operation, and found that there is a high possibility those websites will mislead consumers because they use domain names that reference well-known brands or look very similar to official websites of high-end brands. Furthermore, most of the fraudulent websites investigated (175 websites) provide contact information such as e-mail address, etc., but only 26.3% (46 websites) replied to inquiries made via such contact info.

 

 If a fraud is suspected, consumers can ask for a credit card chargeback.

 

    If a fraud (i.e. out of contact with a business operator after a purchase is made, delivery of counterfeit goods, non-delivery of goods, etc.) is suspected, consumers can seek a credit card chargeback* by contacting their card companies and submitting evidencing documents, including transaction details, e-mails between a consumer and a business, etc. And in most cases, such credit card (including check card) chargebacks must be filed within 120 days** of the transaction date.

    * Chargeback is a process that allows credit card holders (consumers) to reverse transactions when there is a problem with the goods or services they’ve already purchased using their cards.

    ** chargeback time limit for cardholders (consumers): Visa/Master/Amex (120 days), UnionPay (180 days)

 

    More detailed information can be found at the Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal (http://crossborder.kca.go.kr) which the KCA has operated with a view to helping consumers make safe cross-border transactions. Going forward, the KCA plans to more focus its efforts on preventing consumer damage and resolving consumer complaints with regard to cross-border transactions.

 

 

 

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