Online shopping, beware swindlers

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In this festive period, when even through the custom of making gifts we want to demonstrate our affection towards people we love, can happen in the offices of the police and the prosecuting authorities an increase of complaints for online swindling. The cost-saving opportunities e-commerce offers us, stimulate shopping, contacting people who, otherwise, would have never come close one to another.

The economic opportunity is also the possibility to put on sale and purchase goods we no longer use, if we want to interrupt a consumerist mechanism based on the destruction of unused items rather than on the possibility of recycling of goods. Offers and opportunities we have to grasp with prudence.

In fact, often behind advantageous offers hide false proposals of people who, taking advantage of the naivety of the others’, present a “deal” which later proves to be a fraud.

In fact in the face of payment in advance, often through banking, even of substantial sums available, there will be no delivery of goods, telephone numbers that were used for contact with the alleged seller will be disabled, the documents they provided will turn out to be false.

And all of us must reflect on this one point: we have to wonder how the use of IT tools makes fall, despite all the warnings present on specialized sites, to pay only C.O.D., either contextually or even after the delivery of the purchased article, all the mechanisms of protection we follow otherwise, in other modes of purchase, is present: we would never give a check we have signed, in the middle of a road, to someone we have never seem before and who promises us a future delivery of an asset whose existence we have never checked nor controlled.

There are inhibitors in our management of money, which are bound, I would even say consequent, to the respect we have towards money as the fruit of our work: it is certainly not immoral to spend what we have honestly earned on our needs, even on distractions. These ”brakes” seem to cede in front of IT tools, almost as if they guaranteed the credibility of the person on the other side of the screen, as if, merely sharing a communication tool, we share mutual trust.

Waking up from this illusion is often traumatic: hence there are many individuals who complain about having been swindled.  And it is precisely swindling because, in order to technically assume a scam, we must not take into consideration the naivety of those who were swindled.

Hence the complaints, annotations of individuals who communicate a plurality of data, all of which have to be checked by the forces of law and order, from telephone numbers whose owners only allow to reach subjects who remain unknown because they used counterfeit documents – and on this topic should be open discussions on how to controls required to obtain a mobile line are superficial – on current accounts payable to people who knew nothing about the “cloning” of their identity, to places of residence in non-existent roads.

A huge investigative work, considering that scam is abstractly conceivable and therefore investigation is  necessary, which often cannot reach a secure result in a sea where fraudsters seem to live serenely and whose number is  increasing, escaping the network of justice that manages to identify only a part of them. A damage, hence, to the security and justice systems, which can be avoided only with a normal and wise diligence, with the foresight we normally use in our daily lives.

But this reflection can go further: the economic aspect is important, but it is a far more serious problem if we accept uncritically and without appropriate caution media and IT systems offer us. Certain new IT tools, whose number grows every day, offer us new opportunities of dialog, knowledge, diffusion of ideas, also through these systems, progress finds new room and all of us can seize many opportunities.

Yet, we must remember that capacity for reflection and critical analysis is the basis of all our evaluations and that we must never give anyone the possibility to prevent reaching the point when we avoid a free assessment of our choices.

Paolo Auriemma – Public Prosecutor

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