Beware of This Text and Email Scam if You Like Online Shopping!

Shopping Scam

There are so many text and email scams out there that it’s now a bit easier to determine if they’re real or fake. But yesterday, we were almost scammed. It’s a good thing we took note of all the red flags that presented itself during the transaction.

This scam targets those who like to do online shopping so if you like to buy things, especially from abroad, take note of our story below:

Yesterday I got this message saying that my parcel is ready for delivery and I need to confirm my shipping details.

As someone who gets so many deliveries (I get 1-6 per day), I wasn’t *super* suspicious. And when you click the link, you are led to the Post Office website, which looks clean and nice. There are also no typos, a dead giveaway to a scam.

I assumed this is from books I bought at the Big Bad Wolf sale because that’s the only overseas purchase I’m waiting for. I think BBW orders are shipped from Malaysia because orders are processed from the BookXcess Online Warehouse, which is based there.

I was also in the middle of doing tasks so my attention was divided and I wasn’t 100% alert.

Shopping Scam 2

The thing that stopped me was the website was asking me to pay a P56 customs fee via credit card (later it says P58). Because I get so many deliveries and I was distracted, I already typed in my contact details and only stopped when I was about to type in my credit card number and CVV.

I found it suspicious because, by virtue of the Florence Agreement, books are tax-free and VAT-exempt. You only pay taxes if you import 6 copies of the same title if you’re an individual or 12 copies if you’re an institution.

I thought that was strange so I put off the task later when I could be more mentally alert.

I later found these red flags:

1. The text message came from a personal number, not a bot from a shipping company like LBC, Air21, or DHL.

2. Again, the customs fee. Good thing I was only expecting books from abroad because I was super close to giving my credit card details.

3. The link texted to me goes to a page with my “tracking code” but when you visit the homepage, you get this message: Warning, suspected phishing site ahead.

4. I Googled the PHLPOST website to track my order there and was told my order was “not found.”

5. Some friends have received the same text or message via email, even if they’re not waiting for any order abroad.

I messaged the Big Bad Wolf team and this is what they told me: “All transactions happen as you order on the BBW sales page. No other fees will be collected.”

Our key takeaway is that scammers are getting good with their English and typing skills.

Screen Shot 2021 07 09 at 10.27.47 AM

Here are other takeaways that might help others:

1. Make sure the text message comes from an official bot and not a personal number. If via email, make sure to check the email address and see if there’s a typo. For example, a fake BPI email might have the email address “bp1,” where the “I” is replaced by the number one.

2. If you’re ordering a book abroad, you’re not supposed to pay any tax or VAT!

3. You will usually get a unique link. Try going to the homepage. So for example, my link goes to “https://postgo.webpostgo.icu/XXX.” If you just go to “https://postgo.webpostgo.icu,” it will lead you to a page with “Warning, suspected phishing site ahead.” I just checked it again this morning and it says “this site can’t be reached.”

4. Go to the official website of the courier by typing it in Google. The link sent to me was posing as the post office. My “shipment” was not found when I went to the official PHLPOST website.

Wag magpapaloko!

What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

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