About 30% of South Africans shop online these days. We enjoy the convenience, the variety at our fingertips and the great deals. But we should also be aware of the scams and crooks.
One of the big impacts Covid-19 had on our country, is the explosion of e-commerce, or online shopping. In 2018, only 3% of South Africans shopped online, and almost all of them where between 24 and 35 years old. These days, between 27% and 30% of the population are online shoppers, and the age distinction has largely disappeared.
As more people shop online, however, e-commerce scammers and fraudsters have also increased. Statistics from the latest annual report of the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO) show that a quarter of all complaints the CGSO received, were from consumers who paid for products advertised online but never received them. While some were service issues from legitimate providers, the vast majority were for rogue online operators who were running a scam.
According to the Ombudsman Magauta Mphahlele, the main products involved were clothing, electronics and hair extensions offered through platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Because these rogue operations are not registered with the CSGO, they cannot be investigated and there is no help for consumers to get their money back. The best the CSGO can do, is to issue warnings against these operations.Scams, fake loans and rogue retailers are a growing part of social media and currently there is little the regulators are doing about it. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your money:
As the festive season approaches, we can be sure that there will be an increase in online scams. While you enjoy the convenience of shopping online for gifts and household necessities, always put safety first.Go back