A woman from Negeri Sembilan recently took to Facebook after she almost fell victim to a scam where she was asked to pay RM279 in return for an empty parcel
On Tuesday, 3 August, Norashikin Othman wrote, "Assalamualaikum. This happened yesterday, I posted it on my WhatsApp status. But friends asked to also post on other social media accounts so you guys can be careful when buying items with 'cash on delivery' (COD)."
Her post went viral and garnered over 14,000 shares and 599 comments.
Norashikin shared that it all started when her husband was waiting for a watch he had ordered online
The 29-year-old woman, who referred to her husband as Baba in her post, wrote, "Baba called, said that Ninja Van was going to deliver an item and was at the intersection outside. He asked me to prepare RM279 because it was COD. I was confused, Baba isn't an avid online shopper like me. I asked what he bought. He said it was a watch. Okay. He sounded excited, saying that the price was over RM1,000 before the sale."
"I thought to myself that it was cheap, but why COD? Baba asked me to open the package before paying. I said okay. I hung up on the call, went to get the money. Baba sent me a photo of the watch," she added.
When the delivery man arrived, Norashikin requested to open the box but she was told that it was not allowed
"In less than five minutes, the man arrived. When he arrived, he said that he had called my husband just now. Informed that he was sending a parcel. I just said yes. I asked him if I can open the parcel before paying. He said that I couldn't, it was the courier's procedure. I understood. But there was something about the parcel," she noted.
According to Norashikin, the delivery man asked, "What did your husband buy? This box is really light, doesn't seem to contain anything."
She then responded by saying that her husband bought a watch. The delivery man then asked her to send a photo of the package to her husband. Norashikin noted that her husband purchased the item on Facebook but he cannot recall when he bought it.
"The Ninja Van rider said, 'Sis, usually cross-border items like these are from scammers. A lot of the people I've sent packages to had to face this. Most bought through Facebook. Try looking at this box.'"
Norashikin said that she took the box and shook it. It was light and completely empty. She noted that it sounded like there was a plastic bag of air in there.
She then called her husband and let him know that the package was empty.
Norashikin then refused to accept the parcel
She noted that the delivery man was cooperative and was also concerned about her getting scammed.
In her post, she emphasised that people can refuse their deliveries by responding to the SMS or WhatsApp message from the courier by writing, "I did not order this item" or "Cancel order".
"Logically, they sent a lousy box for an item that costs hundreds and thousands. The Ninja Van employee said that shouldn't there be a more premium box? It's an expensive item," Norashikin wrote.
She ended her post, "Alhamdulillah, Allah moved me to not accept the package. Thank you to the Ninja Van employee as well for being concerned with the parcel."
This isn't the first time someone almost fell victim to a syndicate now commonly referred to as 'COD scams'.
Ninja Van Logistics Sdn Bhd country head Adzim Halim previously addressed the issue in an interview with SAYS Seismik.
Adzim explained that in their delivery process, several parties are involved. Freight forwarders are the middlemen in connecting foreign sellers with Ninja Van. Ninja Van is only responsible to send packages to customers.
When delivering an item that was purchased using the COD method, Ninja Van will collect money on behalf of freight forwarders. The money will then be passed over to the freight forwarder who will, later on, pass the cash to the sellers.
In certain situations, individuals would receive an item that they did not order or a parcel containing a random item that costs way less than the value they had paid.
When Ninja Van receives a 'COD scam' report, they often process a refund for the customer out of sympathy.
"We also have a close relationship with freight forwarders to combat 'COD scams' by blacklisting scammers that have been identified," Adzim added.
However, Adzim said that it is nearly impossible to completely combat 'COD scams' from happening as it is out of their control.
"Blacklisting scammers is also not a 100% effective solution. This is because scammers may have several shops online, or use more than one chain of delivery. This is why it's important for those accepting parcels to be careful and wary," he said.
Adzim then noted that customers should contact the logistics company involved if faced with a suspicious COD case.
If Ninja Van is involved, you may seek help through their live chat or send an email to [email protected]