Payment for goods and services on the Internet is convenient, but risky. In order not to "get", you need to know the main signs of "scam" and the most common fraud schemes, to be able to find real reviews on the network and check legal information (TIN, OGRN). However, from unpleasant situations, no one is immune: everyone can lose vigilance, succumb to emotions and hope for luck.
So I got into a mess when it came to urgently buy topinambur tubers for landing. And then I fought a fraudster for several weeks with the help of ... SEO and SMM.
No money, no goods - only promises
In the fall of 2016, I decided that it was not in vain that I studied as an agronomist and it was time to put knowledge into practice. The mother-in-law has allocated a part of her garden for experiments. As a monoculture, I chose Jerusalem artichoke, as it is unpretentious, in demand, beneficial to health and the environment in general.
Offers on the Internet was not enough. Someone was silent, someone refused to send fresh tubers, someone worked only large wholesale. I found the site - it was obviously made on a free-of-charge designer, but did not make an impression of “one-day”, and this calmed me down. It was clear that they were engaged in: connected business tariff, articles, legal information and scan of the certificate of conformity.
The consultant (let's call him Alexey) instantly answered questions in the chat. He promised that the week would not pass from the moment of tuber digging until the transport company arrived at the terminal (urgency is important, since fresh Jerusalem artichoke dries quickly and becomes unsuitable for planting).
I calculated the optimal amount of planting material and made a prepayment on October 3rd.
By e-mail also reported the name, phone number, city and name of the shopping mall. The next day, Alexey wrote that the payment was accepted, and I must be called by a certain employee of the company (let's call him Alexander) about sending the order.
Next - silence. When a few days later I asked about the order, Alexey assured: the tubers are already digging, the order will be sent soon.
I waited, then I could not stand it, I found Alexander's phone myself and called him. As it turned out, Alexey is only an intermediary who owns the site and accepts applications. It is Alexander who grows topinambur and sends orders. He replied that Alexey gave incorrect information. They "began to dig only at the weekend (October 8-9), and if they paid for the goods, it will be shipped tomorrow (12.10)."
Alexey ignored letters of October 10 and 11, but quickly called after my contact with Alexander and said that only such matters should be resolved.
October 14: again no information. In response to my question, Alexey came up with a new excuse - they dug up, but did not find the car, we will send it soon.
It was impossible to postpone further, since at night the air temperature began to fall below zero. There was still a little bit before the closing of the summer season.
As a result, I called a friend on the 17th. As you could guess, the goods were not sent. I asked to return the money and cancel the order. Alexey asked for the card number, and the next day he said that 2,800 rubles had been sent and would soon be reached.
Spoiler: I received my money in just over two months. Fortunately, I stopped hoping for an unscrupulous seller in time - I found planting material in my region and managed to start a plantation in late October. Otherwise, you would have to lose yield and spend time in spring.
And now about how I still managed to "shake off" my money from the fraudster.
Mein digital kampf
In response to the demands to return the advance payment, there was silence or new excuses. In the end I was tired of “eating breakfast” and decided to act. First of all, I turned to a familiar lawyer. She said that the screenshots of the correspondence and scan scan of the Savings Bank is enough to recover money through the courts. Naturally, I didn't have the slightest desire to go there or, especially, to the police.
But at that time I had been working as a copywriter remotely for a year, I knew SEO and SMM a little bit, and decided to fight with digital methods.
Creating a wiki page "Vkontakte"
I have a public "Vkontakte" dedicated to herbs and healthy eating. In it, I created a wiki page on which I collected everything I needed: history, screenshots, links, contact details, and seller details. The full name, phone number and name of the site indicated in title and h1, so that the page could be better ranked in the search and could warn potential buyers.Any administrator of the Vkontakte community can create a wiki page. To do this, create a link like //vk.com/pages?oid=-XXX&p=Name_page, where XXX is the id of the public or group. "Page_name" is title. The page is accessible to anyone without authorization "Vkontakte". Read more about the wiki markup features in the official community.
In the process of collecting information, I discovered other cases of violation of the law by Alexey. It turns out that the entrepreneur was brought to administrative responsibility for drunkenness and was a defendant in an arbitration dispute. The situation is similar: the goods have been paid for and not sent, the landing time has passed, the prepayment has not been returned. I also added links to court decisions and rulings on the wiki page, which I then used for seeding on the social network.
Sowing in the social network and thematic forums
To bring the truth is necessary not only in order to reach the debtor or revenge. It is important to warn potential customers of a fraudster about possible problems.
I posted information in several Blacklists and Overheard. Almost everyone has such a community, even a small settlement.
He also added a couple of posts to thematic groups and to forums where the target audience of the seller is sitting, and even found other victims at fermer.ru.As a rule, community administrators are willing to skip such posts. The main thing - the availability of evidence and compliance with their requirements.
With a great desire, you can notify all friends of an unscrupulous seller and each member of his group (public). The main thing is to adhere to the following rules:
- alternate shipment of drugs with other types of activity (posting, husking, frending, etc.);
- change the text of messages: contact each recipient by name, use synonyms, add / remove punctuation;
- avoid active links, especially shortened links (goo.gl, etc.).
All this will help to prevent blocking of the account from which you are sending messages. You can play it safe and do the newsletter with "fake".
It is worth regularly reminding the debtor about yourself (most likely, he owes a lot of people, so he may forget about you). I acted on all fronts:
- Called and wrote SMS;
- sent messages through the form on the site;
- wrote on e-mail and in the social network - in the community and drugs.
Do not threaten: it will not do anything. Your task is to warn the seller about the consequences of loss of reputation.
Appeal to business partners
I again called the supplier Alexander and asked to clarify the situation. It turned out that he had not even seen the money - Alexei simply appropriated it to himself. Previously, Alexander was constantly faced with delays and excuses, so he began to work with him only on a prepaid basis.
The supplier phoned Alexey in early November. He said he would give me the money. After this conversation, nothing has changed: again, excuses and empty promises. I again contacted Alexander on December 19th. By that time, the debtor tried to remove information about himself from the Internet and even managed to deceive his only (!) Supplier.
A couple of days after this correspondence, I received the money back.
The results of the digital struggle
Profit is, the work was not in vain. As I understood it:
- in the top by reputation queries, my wiki page and several pages of anti-fraud sites with my text began to appear (such resources automatically collect complaints into their databases);
- Comrade began to demand that the administration of the “Black Lists” remove negative information referring to the Law “On Personal Data” dated July 27, 2006 N 152-FZ;
- the online store has a new domain, that is, the owner tried to mimic;
- the seller asked to remove all references to him when he fully repaid the debt.
Of course, the risk of loss of reputation is hardly worried about professional scammers, turning their cases through fake accounts, one-day sites and other people's passport data. The methods of struggle described in the previous section are not very frightening to real scammers, but they make it very difficult for them and are also well suited for influencing irresponsible people.Most organizations and entrepreneurs worry about their good name, afraid to lose their business reputation. When it is under threat, PR-specialists begin to act actively: they try to quickly resolve the conflict and resolve a controversial issue.
Below are two life examples.
Regular bank client vs. reputational risk
My father has a loan in a popular bank. He makes monthly payments at the beginning of the month, so in December 2016 he paid the necessary amount earlier - he wanted to avoid a delay due to the New Year holidays.
From the third of January he began to receive SMS with the requirements to repay the debt. Messages came 4 times a day. My father complained by telephone, wrote complaints in bank branches and through the Internet. SMS terror ended only two weeks later, when employees deigned to correct the error.
No one has apologized.
Another thing, when the case becomes known to the general public. For example, Sergey Kalvarsky writes on Facebook (13,000 people subscribed to the producer’s account).
The question was decided after a few hours.
By the way, if you want to quickly solve problems with financial and credit organizations, please contact Banks.ru. Article Artem Eiskova help correctly to make a complaint on the portal.
I will try to briefly summarize the above and translate the story into a practical plane.
- Googl'ite carefully! Always google before you buy a product, order a service or get a job. Look for more information at the site address, legal data, phone number, get acquainted with the concept of trust of the site. Dilute branded query with the key "reviews";
- Act boldly! Russian proverb "under a rolling stone does not flow water" conveys the meaning as well as possible. Call, write, "spread among the tenants of your housing department." In extreme cases, contact the court and the police (prosecutor's office);
- Read more! Learn marketing and psychology, improve legal and financial literacy. Must read on the topic of online fraud: the publication of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Wikibooks, a series of materials in the "T-F" and the site "Lokhotrony.rf".
Did you have experience of encounters with unscrupulous sellers or scammers? It would be great if you share stories in the comments to the article.