The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging members of the public to be cautious and avoid disclosing their personal details, bank account and PIN numbers, and passwords to anyone they don’t trust.

Purchasing goods has never been easier at just the click of a button.

However, the increasing number of shoppers falling prey to online scammers is a concern for the Consumer Council of Fiji.

Consumer Council of Fiji, Chief Executive Officer, Seema Shandil said that last week the consumer council of Fiji has released and sent out a fresh alert to all the Fijians in Fiji because it has been noted that a lot of Fijians are falling prey to scammers and that they have lost out on thousands of dollars and surprisingly, the target group of these scammers are mainly the vulnerable unemployed ladies.

Shandil added that these women are told that they need to clear off a certain fee attached to the delivery and in most cases women pay up.

There have been cases where these ladies have lost thousands of dollars and which is in one case where an individual has deposited $8200 dollars into 2 separate bank accounts and in another case a lady has deposited $750 and they have not received anything for the money they deposited)

The Financial Intelligence Unit is now investigating 7 local bank accounts that actually involve 70 deposited transasctions amounting to close 160 thousand dollars.

“In all the cases, they have not received any parcels, however they have lost out on their money, and it becomes very hard to, once the money is deposited , it is very hard to track that money and get it reimbursed because we don’t know where exactly the money has ended up in the world because scammers are all around the world and are stationed all around the world so it becomes hard for the consumers and any statutory body that is in place and tracking is not easy”.

The Council is calling on to consumers to be cautious when buying online.

Consumers should practice their rights and responsibilities by being mindful when engaging in online shopping.

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