ATHENS – Greeks switching to shopping online to avoid going to stores during the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing more of them preyed on by scamsters setting up sites to steal their money.
The Consumer Ombudsman's office said complaints about being defrauded online have doubled during the pandemic, advising people using online sites to pay cash on delivery if there's about doubt about whether a site is legitimate.
With a second lockdown in place preventing people from going to non-essential businesses such as clothing and shoe stores, they have no alternative but to shop online, where fake sites have proliferated.
The Ombudsman's office said in the first 10 months of the year there were 2,770 complaints of fraud online, some 25.8 percent of all complaints being received there and with people swindled, losing their money without getting goods ordered.
In many cases, after the payment is made, many e-stores stop all communication with their customers who can't get information about what happened, the office said, recommending caution in picking alleged retailers.
The ombudsman said people should pay online only at trusted and reputable sites, especially with established stores and see how long a business has been online and if they have an actual address.
Consumers were also advised to carefully check on the e-store they're detaling with, get the full name of the company and contact details including a postal address and not to try just an email address or only a cellphone number.