Internet Fraud on the RiseMs. L, a housewife, was very upset after placing an order at an Internet shopping site for a dining table. A table of totally different design, color, and size was delivered instead. Ms. L asked for a replacement but the company was slow to respond and then closed their on-line site.
Mr. K ordered a razor for 83,000 won on an Internet auction site, and deposited the amount to the site's bank account. He did not receive the product after having waited one week for delivery, and looked up the Internet site to find contact numbers. Again, the auction site could no longer be found.
These are just two instances of the many cases of Internet fraud being reported to the Seoul YMCA. Internet customers are being asked to exercise extreme caution as Internet fraud is on the rise.
According to a report from the city of Seoul and the Seoul YMCA, 60 sites (90 percent of the total 67 Internet shopping sites) have violated e-commerce consumer protection regulations. They require Internet companies offering items for sale to clearly advertise eight important pieces of information including a company's registered name, the names of company business representatives, contact addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses, stating of e-sales and regular business registration numbers. However, 27 companies (40 percent of the total Internet shopping mall sites) did not clearly provide these addresses and phone numbers.
Since cyber customers select products 'blind,' the regulations guarantee that an item may be returned and refunded for any reason. However, 22 percent (15 sites) violated these regulation while 60 percent (40 sites) made the customer pay the return postage, though the companies were supposed to be responsible for any charges incurred. In addition, 37 shopping sites request detailed personal informaion including birthday, occupation, and gender. This kind of personal information can often be used for inappropriate purposes.
Head of the Comsumer Affairs Division Kang Byung-ho stated, "It is very important to check for contact numbers, purchase agreements, and any other relevant information before placing orders at Internet shopping sites."
Internet shopping sites that have been identified as fraudulant are listed on Seoul City (www.metro.seoul.kr) and YMCA (www.consumer.ymca.or.kr) homepages. The Korea Consumer Protection Board interviewed 2,500 Internet shopping mall users, of which 15 percent reported being the victim of Internet fraud.