SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): E-commerce platforms Facebook Marketplace and Carousell remained at the bottom of a list in the second year of an inter-ministry rating system that assesses the safety and security of online transactions for consumers.
Amazon, Lazada and Qoo10 continued to top the chart with four out of four ticks, the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS) said on Thursday (May 4) in its annual report, the E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings.
E-commerce scams are among the top scam types here, with at least 4,762 scam cases reported in 2022, which is around 75 per cent more than in 2021, said the committee.
Three in five of the e-commerce scams were conducted via Carousell and Facebook, both of which are classifieds platforms that offer the option of completing transactions away from the platforms.
Carousell recorded 1,834 reported cases in 2022, while Facebook was second with 1,138 reported cases, and Shopee third with 311 cases. Online messaging platform Telegram was also included on the list at fourth place, with 288 reported scam cases.
The report was first published in May 2022 to inform consumers on the quality of anti-scam measures offered by major e-commerce platforms here. The platforms included Amazon, Carousell, Facebook, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Telegram and WhatsApp.
There were 1,000 other reported scams on platforms not named in the report.
The measures assessed include user authenticity, transaction safety, availability of remedial channels for consumers and effectiveness of anti-scam measures. Based on these assessments, the platforms are awarded up to the maximum of four ticks in the system.
The performance of all e-commerce platforms in 2023’s report is unchanged from 2022, with Facebook Marketplace awarded one tick and Carousell two ticks, respectively.
Facebook Marketplace also notably lacks seller verification tools and secure payment options, said the Ministry of Home Affairs in a breakdown of each platform’s performance. These tools are flagged in the report as optional on Carousell, while Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee offer the whole suite of anti-scam tools.
Urging greater caution when transacting on marketplaces with limited anti-scam measures, the committee said: “These scams generally involve the sale of goods and services online, where said goods and services are not delivered after payment has been made.”
The committee added that it has worked with Shopee since December 2022 to require verification of sellers’ identities based on official documentation before they can list their products.
In April, Carousell launched a certification programme for second-hand luxury bags, phones and cars that have been checked for quality and authenticity by the platform before they are sold by Carousell Official Stores or its partners. Certified bags and phones have a money-back guarantee for unsatisfied buyers.
The anti-scam committee urged those transacting online to deal only with sellers whose identities are verified on the platform and check for reviews of the seller before making payment.
Buyers should use secure in-platform payment solutions and keep transactions within the platform, said the committee. These payment solutions include CarouPay, which withholds payment from the seller until the buyer has received his purchase.
Sun Xueling, chairman of the IMCS and Minister of State for Home Affairs, said: “This is an important initiative that will better secure e-commerce transactions and protect our consumers from e-commerce scams. We strongly encourage all e-commerce marketplaces to implement safety features, such as user verification and secure payment options.”