People Never Learn – Why Con Cases Still Occur

People Never Learn - Why Con Cases Still Occur

Through the many years of moderating the forum, I had the opportunity to observe the many con cases that occurs from time to time. In this article, I will share my observation.

A Quick Introduction

Firstly, let me start off by making it clear that forum is not a place that’s full of con man. It’s currently the biggest tech related forum in Malaysia and if you look at the amount of trades that happen every day over the Trade Zone, you’ll see that con cases are considered VERY RARE.

Secondly, the term “Con case” here in this article does not refer to cases where seller had problem delivery or the delivery was not as expect, as this happens practically in every other area of business, that’s why also has a Dispute Resolution Corner for buyers to highlight their grievance should they be unable to settle it privately.

Lastly, my observation of con cases spans over 5 years, having gone started off my role in as a Trade Enforcer many years back, and went through 3 levels of promotion to my current status as the Forum Administrator.

The Key To A Successful Con

This is the latest case, involving the iPhone 5 that is still not available in Malaysia

People Never Learn - Why Con Cases Still Occur

As you browse the thread, you’ll see how great the demand is for the device, for whatever reasons I cannot comprehend.

A report then appeared

Possible scammer – i asked for the number for COD and TS PM me 0164325301. i search online google and got this :

TS requested i pay full upfront but i requested COD in penang. Been calling TS and PM / SMS but no reply since then.

For your perusal.

So as you can see, the key to a successful con over Internet doesn’t even require the Conman to sweet talk! In my opinion, that’s the biggest joke. All it takes is to tell people they have something that’s not yet available, or that they are able to acquire something at a very good price. 🙁

My Observation

The following are my observation of con cases.

– almost always mobile device related, regardless the size of the order. Regardless of brand, or condition of device (new or used).
– conned individuals are usually teenagers.
– conned individuals are usually teenagers with some money, probably from study loan.
– conned individuals are often purchasing not out of need

To summarize it in paragraph – people who are not working, have a sum of money, LOVE to own a particular device, heard the great news of able to acquire it for cheap – VOILA!! Greed + ego triggered, common sense erased, bank in a huge sum to stranger. 🙁 Say “kthxbai” to your money.

Note, the sum of money that they have is usually not huge. It’s usually just enough to PAY for the goods and live the following weeks and months on instant noodles.

How To Avoid Being Conned

Short answer : COMMON SENSE

Long answer :
1. DO NOT ever bank in a huge amount of money to strangers. It doesn’t make sense at all. Even if you ever do, at least find a stranger that is reputable but even so there is always a risk.

2. COD – NO NO NO not Call of Duty!! COD means Cash On Delivery. This means you actually MEET the said individual to view the goods before handing the money over. Meet at a public place for safety sake. Test out the goods, even if it’s brand new and sealed in plastic. Just to make sure you do not end up with just a stack of plain paper in the box.

3. In relation to point #3, some people justify their act by saying “but the seller is far away!” – ok well that’s silly, you can’t just go back to point #1 just because of geographical factor. If the seller is far away, either get a trustworthy person (aka FRIEND) to help you with the purchase or just forget about it. I mean really, how cheap could it be?

It doesn’t make to put a huge sum of money at risk just to possibly, if the deal turns well, save you some money. You’re better off buy from a shop or other sellers near you and be safe.

4. For newly released products – Please, there’s no lasting glory for you to be the first or early owners of the device. Sure, it’s not available in Malaysia yet but there’s really no harm to wait a few months and buy from reputable sources. Case in point, iPhone 5 will be available sooner or later, and you can buy them from Apple directly when the time comes. Why bother risky your money just to own it before others? It’s just utter stupidity.

5. If the price is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE – be careful. It’s funny how on forum, people think that people with goods priced HIGH are the conmen while people priced LOW are the good people! LOL case. 😀 Seriously peeps, conmen are the ones that price good low. People who price the goods high are often just people who either not aware of the price, or are waiting for a willing buyer, this is not consider a CONCASE because the price is stated clearly. You can see this all over eBay where rare items are marked up really high. 🙂

Of course if it’s a common item but priced higher than usual and someone still wants to buy it, then I’d say it’s a buyer problem. 😛

Calculate Risks

After having said all the above, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy stuff from people using the Internet.

For example, I paid some RM 1.5k to a shop in Penang for my very first DSLR about 5 years ago. It was a calculated risk, I went on the basis that the seller is reputable and has a shop.

I’ve been purchasing items from various users throughout the years, and I usually go by COD or postage. We go based on trust, many have bought items from me as well as my status in the forum does lend them a huge amount of assurance. 😛

My most recent purchase was from a seller in Hungary, I don’t know her but just decided to go based on trust. Was there a risk? Yes of course but the key is to understand that buying items online does involve risk.

In order to minimize damage, try keep a cap on the amount paid to strangers. 🙂 That’s what I do.


COMMON SENSE. It spares you a lot of trouble.