Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Chocolate buyers cheated

By Yao Yueh-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Big Thunder chocolate bars are displayed in an undated image taken from the Internet.

Photo: Yao Yue-hung, Taipei Times

Swindlers have cheated four people out of an average of NT$17,000 over the past three weeks using a page on Facebook claiming to sell the popular Japanese chocolate brand “Big Thunder,” police said.

The product first gained recognition among young people in Kyushu, Japan, and its popularity rapidly spread to Taiwan.

One of the victims, a 32-year-old woman surnamed Wu (吳), said she was thrilled to find a Facebook page selling the chocolate, with a box of 40 costing NT$800. On further inquiry, she was told that if she bought 50 boxes, the price would drop to NT$750 per box.

Wu agreed to buying 50 boxes and wired NT$37,500 to the named account, and called to confirm that the transfer had gone through and when she would receive the merchandise. The contact person said the transfer went through and the merchandise would arrive in two weeks.

During the waiting period Wu saw other netizens posting about being cheated and tried to call the seller’s phone number for verification. The number had been discontinued and the Facebook page was no longer accessible.

According to the 165 Anti-Scamming Hotline, there have been 112 reported cases of Facebook product swindles over the past two months, an increase of 30 cases compared with the same period last year.

Police urged people to beware of buying products online if they do not know the seller or to stick to face-to-face transactions due to a lack of standards governing Facebook purchase groups.

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