Online scammers are getting smarter and faster, targeting unsuspecting sellers on online marketplaces. In just under a minute of posting an advert to sell a child’s bike on the popular Czech website Sbazar.cz, the author of this article received a message from a seemingly interested buyer. The buyer claimed to be from Brno and suggested using the courier service DPD to collect the bike. The seller was asked to confirm the bike’s condition and whether it was still available for sale.
The seller was then asked to provide their name and address, which raised a warning flag. A phone call to the number provided revealed that it was from Romania. The scammer had attempted to lure the seller into revealing their payment card details and confirming the transaction through a fake link to a payment service or courier company. The scammer would then drain the seller’s bank account.
Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in their approach, using electronic watchdogs to respond to new adverts quickly. Some even use chatbots that can hold seemingly human-like conversations with their targets. The chatbots have improved so much that it is difficult to tell them apart from real humans. This makes it harder for sellers to spot and avoid scams.
Pavel Kolar, the director of industry services at Seznam.cz, said that scammers continuously improve their techniques. He pointed out that while scams used to be written in broken Czech, many now use flawless language. As chatbots become more advanced, detecting fraud is becoming increasingly difficult. Sellers need to be aware of the risks and take measures to protect themselves from online fraud.
It is not just online marketplaces that scammers are targeting. Online banking scams are also on the rise. Phishing emails that appear to be from banks are used to trick people into revealing their login details. The fraudsters can then access their bank accounts and steal their money. It is essential to be vigilant when using online services and to check that your websites are legitimate.