As you may all know, deal sites have become very popular over the years since it offers consumers great deals from hotels to restaurants to products & services to travel deals and so much more. For this reason, more and more discount/deal sites have been sprouting like mushrooms in the Philippines but sad to say, some of those sites are nothing but scam sites.
I agree that buying online can be very convenient for most people but we should always be very careful when purchasing things online. Remember that when we buy things on the Internet, we are giving our personal information to people we can’t actually see so it’s always important to do some research first before buying anything from any websites.
One of the deal sites that my friend has encountered is MEGAPON which is a shortcut of “Mega + Coupon”. From the looks of their website, you can already tell that not much thought was given to it as its layout/design appears to be of low quality. If I would based it on this alone, I wouldn’t buy any vouchers from sites like this because my intuition would tell me that something isn’t right. Unfortunately, some people get way too excited when they see the deals that they want and so they fail to make
good wise decisions and they fall to the trap of these scammers.
Loot at the 3 pictures above: Their “about us” page doesn’t give us a lot of information about their company. Their “FAQ ” page only has 5 questions in it. Their “Contact Us” page does show their office address and contact numbers but news flash… we already tried calling the number and the person who answered the phone said that Megapon has already left the office and moved to a different one – new address is unknown. We also tried calling the cellphone numbers that they provided but the lines are always busy. We also tried sending text messages to those numbers but to no avail.
We found out that Megapon has a Facebook page with 9000+ likes and that they created the page last September 2012. If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice that their last post was October 2013 so I’m guessing that they used to be a legitimate deal site offering promos but may have ended up bankrupt. If this is the case, they should have closed/removed their site online but seeing that they didn’t leads me to believe that their objective now is to get as much money as they can from customers without the intention of providing vouchers in return.
Their Facebook page also mentioned the name “Min Lee” as its administrator but when I checked the Facebook account of Min Lee, it showed that it has not been updated for quite some time (around 4 months) and the account only has 7 pictures in it so we can’t really tell for sure if this is the actual person behind Megapon or if the pictures were just used by someone else.
It’s bad when a deal site gets your money and you are left with no vouchers at all but it’s even worse when a deal site gets hold of your email address, your password and, most importantly, your credit card details – such thing happened to someone I know.
My friend purchased a spa voucher from Megapon.ph early December (2013) but he did not receive his voucher. Later on, he found out that someone hacked his account from another deal site (Ensogo). He recently purchased an item from Ensogo but he noticed that the voucher was modified from personal to “sent as a gift” – the hacker tried to use a fake name and a fake email address. Good thing he was able to inform Ensogo about it so the hacker won’t be able to pick up the item without a valid ID (regardless if he has a copy of the voucher). After what happened, my friend suddenly had an inkling that the hacker may be the same person who owns/operates Megapon.ph and so he felt the need to call his bank and asked the call center agent if his credit card has any floating transactions and the agent, unfortunately, confirmed that there are. Some of the floating transactions were charges through Paypal, payment to Lazada.com.ph and payments to 2 fast food restaurants last December 29, 2013 – an amount of Php1089 for Jollibee orders and Php1100 for Greenwich orders. Pretty huge sums for just fast food, right? All these things happened to him after he joined Megapon.ph so we have a strong feeling that it’s the same person. My friend has already raised a dispute with his bank and so all these charges will eventually be reversed… thank God!
Now even with that in mind, this news does not sit well on me. We won’t allow this person to go on with his life scot-free. I have already communicated with the customer service of Jollibee and Greenwich and they were able to confirm the name of the person who ordered the foods, the address where the orders were delivered, and the 2 mobile numbers that the culprit registered online. In fact, he also registered one of those mobile numbers in the fake email address that he created. We don’t know how this person looks like but we now know his name… we now know his address… and we now know his contact details. I can’t post his details here just yet. My friend still has to gather all the evidences so that he can soon file a criminal case against him. We hope that he’ll be arrested soon and when that happens, I will make sure that his picture will be posted on this blog so that everyone will see.
***Now, regardless if the owner of Megapon and the hacker are the same person or not… you should still take into account the following:
1. Do a research first. It doesn’t matter if the site appears to be new or old… always check the Internet for reviews or posts about possible scams. Be very diligent. Verify if the office address and the contact numbers are real or not. If you are buying a service or a hotel/restaurant/travel voucher, try calling the companies first so you can confirm if they are really offering a deal in a particular website or not.
2. If you are planning to join a deal site, it would be best to not use your primary email address. It’s better to create a secondary email so that if something bad happens, they won’t be able to get all your personal information. If you want to use your primary email address when signing up, make sure that you don’t use the same password so that they won’t be able to hack your email. Also, don’t forget to add some security questions to your personal email so that it will be difficult for anyone to hack.
3. If you like purchasing things online, it’s best to ask your credit card company to issue you another credit card with a lower credit limit. There are now some credit card companies that offer E-credit cards so try calling your card company to check if it is one of them. This is your best bet! Having an E-credit card lets you set a credit limit for your online purchases. This way, if someone hacks your E-credit card details, he/she won’t be able to use your main card’s credit limit.
4. Some credit card companies offer a free service where it sends out a text message to the credit cardholder every time a purchase is made. If your credit card company offers this, you should take advantage of it. If, in case, someone uses your card details without your knowledge, you will know it right away and you’ll be able to report it as soon as you receive the text message.
*If you have more tips, feel free to share it here… 🙂