Online order delivery triggers virus fears

FIA Cybercrime Cell asks people to boycott online stores that refuse to accept payment after inspection of goods


PHOTO: REUTERS

MULTAN/ LAHORE: A family expecting delivery of new shirts ordered from an online store received a parcel containing four ‘Landa bazaar’ (flea market) shirts at their door step.

Panic spread among the family members after the package was opened. The distinct smell of the used clothes emanated from the parcel. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the family was horrified to have touched a possible hotbed of coronavirus.

Muhammad Yasir, who had placed the online order through an ad post from 48hours store on facebook, said, “The trader offered an eye catching deal, claiming to provide four ‘new’ shirts in Rs1,299 and delivery charges of Rs200.”

Impressed by the deal, Yasir decided to place an order, however, the trader refused to give out contact details when he asked for it.

The scammers promised to send him new shirts at his house in Kasur within a day of payment.

Lured by the tall claims, Yasir gave in. A day later, he received used clothes.

“You would have heard hue and cry from a distance in my house. Everyone was distinctively panicking. My mother rushed everyone to wash their hands especially that of my brother who had opened the parcel.”

A great debate ensued in the house of whether the shirts should be thrown outside or disinfected somehow.

The family finally went into quarantine after carefully throwing the shirts in detergent and water in a tub which was placed inside the bathroom.

“My mother placed a curfew. No one was allowed to even enter the bathroom for at least right hours.”

Yasir went on to narrate the incident online on the business page of the scammers to warn other customers.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ajmal Khan, Shakeel Ansari and several others confirmed they had wanted to place an order for purchasing the shirts but they were not given any contact number and were just asked to place the order online.

“I will file a complaint with the cybercrime cell of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) contending that some traders are scamming people by promising provision of new clothes but send old clothes from landa bazaar. The authorities should hold them accountable,” Yasir remarked.

A source in the FIA told The Express Tribune that hundreds of complaints were received since January up to the present regarding online businesses wherein the purchasers complained about substandard material delivery by the online traders.

He said several complaints were also dismissed after the version of the traders proved correct.

FIA Cybercrime Cell Director Operation Abdur Rab said such false businesses can be easily snubbed if purchasers start paying the amount after examining the product being delivered to them.

“They should boycott those sellers who do not agree on this condition.”

He said FIA is working diligently but people should also render their duties well by reporting such incidents.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2020.

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