Don’t be fooled by online gold rush

By Siti Shafiah Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR: Gold jewellery have long been coveted by women across the globe as it is thought to enhance beauty and femininity, in addition to being considered an asset of investment.

The Covid-19 pandemic did nothing to affect sales — if anything, purchasing trends for gold, especially online, have actually increased significantly in the country ever since the country went into the movement control order last year.

The writer herself is intrigued with the idea of buying gold online, as it seems like a such convenient way to shop. One can easily browse available selection and purchase without the hassle of long queues.

Unfortunately, this has made such platforms a target for online scammers. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) reported a sudden increase in online gold scams, with 37 cases recorded in just the first three months this year, resulting in losses amounting to RM239,530.

According to Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob, 21 cases with RM148,444 losses were reported for 2019 and it rose to 44 cases with RM261,954 losses in 2020.

Following this worrying trend, Federation of the Associations of Malaysian Jewellers and Goldsmith president Datuk Steven Siow Dek Kuen reminded the public to shop at long-standing or reputable brick-and-mortar stores.

Wan Nurliana Aida Wan Mhd Kamal, a trader at Ayden Gold, Datuk Keramat market agrees. She said that even though her shop has started selling online, both seller and buyer must proceed with caution to prevent fraud.

“We must first establish if the gold shop exists physically. When we deal with an agent, the person doesn’t have a shop. Therefore, we need to find out the gold brand’s headquarters to verify the agent’s credentials,” she told Bernama recently.

Besides that, Wan Nurliana Aida said the marketing or promotional method, whether online or in-store can be used as a guide when purchasing gold.

“When there are new stocks, we will post it on social media like Telegram and Facebook to promote it. If they do plenty of live marketing on social media, they can be trusted. But if they lag in marketing on social media, we need to be wary of them,” she said.

According to her, sellers and buyers must play their respective roles to avoid being duped as criminals are always looking to take advantage in any unsuspecting situation.

“When doing live (online promotion), my clients sometime post their mobile contacts and these criminals (scammers) will immediately WhatsApp them impersonating me — as Nana from Ayden Gold,” she added.

Wan Nurliana acknowledged the advantages of online sales in helping physical stores meet their target, but is still cautious of the vulnerabilities of online platforms when pitching sales.

She also admits to having received a fake online transfer receipt from a buyer.

“Many are jobless during this Covid-19 pandemic and committing online fraud can be the easiest and shortest way to earn. We need to be careful,” she said.

Buyer Anisa Shamsaimon said even though the trend of buying gold online is on the increase on social media, she would rather shop in physical stores.

“I tried buying online but did not find it a satisfying experience. I prefer to walk-in (into stores) where I can hold and try on the gold products. That’s more satisfying,” she said.

The opposite is true for Ahmad Imran Rose Din, a buyer who would rather make his purchase online from the comfort of his home, skipping road traffic and parking issues.

“If we want to ascertain the reliability of a purchase, just Google the said business and check if it has a physical shop or not. We can also look up on available reviews,” he said. – Bernama