DTI urged to tighten measures vs ‘online budol’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — A lawmaker has urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies to impose more stringent measures in processing shipment of goods in order to protect consumers from scammers.

Surigao Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the DTI must compel delivery service firms on the web to thoroughly check the identity of all sellers before transacting business with them.

These measures, according to him, would help protect buyers from scams against social media data-spoofing and “online budol-budol.”

In a statement, the solon said the latest modus operandi of online “budol” is targeting houses where tenants only accept and pay for cash-on-delivery (COD) packages.

According to Barbers, scammers look through the prior activity of their target through their social media accounts and steal personal information to send them cheap or useless products.

“I have received numerous reports of people victimized by online scammers who steal personal data from targeted victims’ FB, Messenger or other social media accounts and use them to deliver bogus goods to victims, some of whom did not even order such goods,” he said.

Barbers, who also chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said majority of the victims, some of whom he knew personally, had been duped by amounts ranging from P100 to P5,000.

He said the victims would just opt to “charge them to experience” rather than report and pursue a refund or file a case against the bogus sellers.

The lawmaker cited delivery service firms J&T Express, LBC, Abest Express, JRS Express, GrabExpress, 2Go Express, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy, and Fastrack, among others, to require online sellers to present valid identification cards (IDs) and addresses.

He requested the DTI to enact strict rules in addition to mandating that online vendors present valid documents like government-issued IDs "so that consumers can come back at them if required."