CyberSecurity, PayPal caution online shoppers


KUALA LUMPUR: ‘Tis the season to be shopping for presents and if you’re going to buy your gifts online, CyberSecurity Malaysia and Paypal hope you will do this securely. The cybersecurity agency and payment gateway are working together on a campaign to get Malaysians to practise safe online shopping habits, and have declared December as Safe Online Shopping Month.

The month-long campaign targets sellers and merchants, and both these organisations will be sharing tips on how to conduct online transactions safely.

“We’re preparing for the festive shopping season. We all know that we can get good deals online but we need to remember to tread carefully (in cyberspace),” said Elias Ghanem, managing director of PayPal South-East Asia and India.

The two organisations are also responding to the concerns of a growing number of Malaysian online shoppers who are worried about who they share their financial information with online.

“Nine out of 10 Malaysians are concerned about sharing their personal data online and the older they are the more wary they are about sharing such information,” Ghanem said.

According to him, there are 800,000 PayPal accounts in Malaysia, and last year Malaysians spent RM1.8bil shopping on the Web.

This figure is steadily increasing and by 2014, Malaysians would be spending up to RM5bil online annually, Ghanem said.

But this also means that the risk of online fraud is heightened. CyberSecurity Malaysia’s cybersecurity hotline — Cyber999 — received 148 reported cases of purchase scams. In such scams, fraudsters use stolen or fake credit cards to buy merchandise online.

CyberSecurity chief executive officer Lt Col (ret) Datuk Prof Husin Jazri said among the cases are merchants not delivering goods that have been paid for, consumers receiving substandard products, and customers reversing online payments after receiving the goods.

“Such frauds are a major issue and we need to address them,” said Husin.

CyberSecurity and PayPal are working to have the local merchant community place a more secure payment system on their shopping websites.

Ghanem said merchants have a lot to gain if they did so. He said customers are more likely to buy big-ticket items from a site that is well secured and trustworthy.

Both organisations are also promoting safer mobile-transactions, which will encourage more people to buy stuff online from their smartphones.

“Many Malaysians would probably like the convenience of shopping from their phones but are concerned about security,” Ghanem added.

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