With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming consumer habits and driving up the number of purchases made online, the cybercrime world has kept an eye on the growing trend, taking advantage of users’ fears or lack of knowledge, or security flaws in companies’ computer systems to carry out multiple fraudulent schemes.

Online buying and selling platforms such as OLX are no exception to the rule, and are also in the “sights” of criminals. Helping to combat the problem is one of the company’s priorities, as well as alerting users to the dangers that exist and informing them about the behaviors that they should practice.

“In terms of cybercrime trends, we are aware of what is happening globally,” explains Rui Passos, Quality & Safety Manager at OLX Portugal to SAPO TEK. “One of the advantages of being a multinational operating in several markets is precisely the possibility of sharing information and absorbing knowledge from other realities, even with far higher rates of fraud, such as Ukraine or Poland, which it allows us to be more prepared and trained to prevent and / or dismantle schemes of this kind ”.

According to the official, in Portugal, frauds through MBWAY were the ones that had the greatest media impact and that generated the most financial losses: “and if they harm our users, they also directly or indirectly harm OLX”.

In all, the official says that “50% of the reports” submitted by users are due to fraud. “However, less than 1% lead to fraud blocks by our team. In these situations, in which it is necessary to act, we remove the vast majority in less than 24 hours ”.

Among the most frequent scams in OLX on the national scene, in addition to frauds through MBWAY, there is a new trend identified by the OLX team: schemes associated with false “delivery” services from the platform, where fake websites are created with an image and layout very similar to OLX in order to steal users’ bank details.

Although he cannot reveal the internal procedures for security reasons, Rui Passos made it known that, in the face of a fraud situation, users report the situation directly to the authorities, and can do so, for example, electronic complaint portal Ministry of Internal Affairs, and then contact OLX through the your help center.

“The support team helps the user to know what steps to take to formally report the situation”, analyzing “in detail all reported situations and actively collaborating with the authorities, providing all the information necessary for the investigation”. The official also recalled that whenever a complaint is made, either to the authorities or to OLX itself, users should “try to provide as much information as they have” to help “speed up the process substantially”.

Awareness of digital literacy is a priority

“We have been focusing a lot on the education and awareness of the Portuguese, as we feel that there is still a great digital illiteracy and, as a reference that we are, we feel the responsibility to take this as a priority”, emphasizes the Quality & Safety Manager at OLX Portugal.

Thus, the company has been putting into practice all the knowledge and experience acquired over time, making relevant partnerships and producing content that aims to keep users informed, including various awareness campaigns. about OLX and MBWAY, in addition to strengthening the relationship with the PSP, GNR and ASAE in order to create an effective channel for the exchange of information to “tighten the siege” on criminals.

But that’s not all: together with the Complaint Portal, OLX contributed to the awareness campaign # NãoSejasPato, also participating in the creation of the Cybersecurity Consumer e-leaning course of the National Cybersecurity Center, together with ASAE, the Directorate-General for Consumers and the European Consumer Center.

Given all the warnings and reported cases of online fraud, are users becoming more cautious? “OLX has an extremely attentive user community and, fortunately, quickly reports this type of information”, details Rui Passos, adding that the platform’s security team feels that the internet users in question are increasingly aware of fraudulent schemes.

“One of the best examples is the schemes with MBWAY, in which we have been seeing a brutal decrease in the number of people who are defrauded with this method, despite the attempts being higher than in the first wave of fraud through this platform.”

However, OLX feels that “a constant work of awareness and learning is necessary”, which must depend on that of all the players that work in the online world, which “has been suffering more and more sophisticated attacks that affect all areas : from telecommunications to banking ”, in addition to platforms for buying and selling items online.

In the words of Rui Passos, it is true that “the fight against fraud is an eternal game of the“ cat and mouse ””, but it is possible to perceive that “there is a pressure from institutions worldwide to force countries to develop more and more laws that protect consumers in the online universe ”.

With 2020 coming to an end and already thinking about the trends that will mark next year, the official says that, with regard to consumers, the companies’ strategy must undergo “a constant reinforcement of messages about the best practices for using online platforms. and for education I raise awareness of future generations in relation to the dangers hidden in the digital universe ”.

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