Electronic commerce: When a robbery for online purchases reaches the Public Ministry



They all seem to have a recent history of digital theft in Mexico. It is not even a Christmas shopping issue – although it becomes more relevant at the time of year when the Christmas bonuses are deposited -. It is an issue of permanent insecurity, which is in the air, which, unlike a house robbery, does not have a tangible image to accompany it. They are stories that usually end in damage, not in the complaint and much less in justice. If each person affected went to the Public Ministry to file a report for theft through bank cards or through electronic commerce, what would happen? This journalist made the attempt.

One night, emails began to arrive that indicated expenses for 25,500 pesos in Claroshop.com, the e-commerce of Grupo Carso, part of the conglomerate of companies owned by businessman Carlos Slim. After hastily calling the card issuing bank and denying the charges, the card was blocked and the financial institution opened an internal investigation. An attempt to call the store in question was impossible on a Friday at 10pm. The option: send an email to the company in which, in addition to denying the purchases, the deletion of the account on its portal was requested, which contains data as sensitive as the customer’s address.

While the financial institution issuing the credit card worked quickly to stop the charge and reimburse the theft, the e-commerce site was conspicuous by its absence. There was no response to the email. In a second call to your customer service center, an employee of a call center He wrote down the corresponding data and claimed to have “opened a report”, without being able to do more. During all this time, the business sent the customer, whose identity was stolen to buy products with their money, notifications about the shipment of the stolen products. It is already on its way. It has already been delivered. “How did it go with the premiere of your Omnia Coral 65 ml Eau de Toilette by Bvlgari Fragrance for women?” Asks the mail-order merchant who paid for someone else’s purchases. Write a review.

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And who was it that usurped the identity of a client to rob a e-commerce? In this case, as in many others, the name, address and telephone number are there, in each notification. Being a victim of robbery generates an unshakable feeling of having been violated. It generates anger and helplessness. But being a victim of robbery and knowing exactly the name and where the person who robbed lives, poses an absurd situation. And it also generates the desire to go and confront the person who did the damage.

In the Public Ministry (MP), if the waiting list to file a complaint is short, a citizen loses a day of his life waiting. If the list is long, they can lose two or three days. If you come on the weekend, even though the office must work 365 days a year, you may be asked to come back on a business day and line up. The treatment is friendly, although rushed. There are many people waiting to report and their cases are tougher. Spending the day in the MP is listening to stories of family violence, medical negligence, abuse in companies. A robbery in a e-commerce it is, perhaps, the least urgent of all.

The complaint itself, which is made through an interview with an MP official, takes about two and a half hours and has zero guarantees. In fact, the officer himself assures the complainant that, to ensure that the investigation folder leads to a process, one must come back in two weeks and sit down with the officer in charge again. Afterwards, you have to be calling or showing up at the place, to follow up on the case, exerting pressure on the authorities. “But, this is the name of the person who stole from me, this is his phone number and this is his address. Can’t the police go? “

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“No, and that neighborhood, in the Iztacalco delegation, is very dangerous. You should not go either ”, responds the authority in charge.

It is necessary to do a search in networks to understand that this happens all the time in the country in online stores such as MercadoLibre, Liverpool, among others. In response to a request for information on the case, the deputy director of Communication at Grupo Carso, Renato Flores, assured that there was no theft of customer information and that the store has an incidence of fraud in online purchases of 0.6%. The most recent data from the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef) show that this year 6,532 million pesos were claimed in cyber fraud. Of these, only 41% were rewarded back in the pockets of the users.

“It is essential to remind users that it is not convenient to use the same password on all their platforms, since, by not having different passwords, cyber criminals can access all their accounts by stealing their identity,” Flores said in an email.

And this is why digital thefts, whether directly to bank accounts, to cards or through profiles in online stores, are rarely reported: because the customer service mechanisms of financial institutions are usually much faster than justice. This, in combination with the high impunity in Mexico, allows criminals to continue defrauding.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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