Scammers are more likely to use unverified accounts to list their products and services, and tend to direct buyers to make payments via other channels like bank transfers.
IMPROVED SAFETY MEASURES
The IMCS has been working with major e-commerce marketplaces to further improve the safety of online transactions.
Lazada, for instance, in December 2022 launched a buyer confirmation feature, which holds payment to the seller for a confirmation period.
The funds will only be released when the buyer has confirmed receipt and is satisfied with the order, or after the confirmation period.
Since December 2022, Shopee has mandated the verification of seller identities based on government-issued documentation, before they can list their products on the platform. Previously, this step was only applicable to “preferred” or “mall” sellers.
Carousell has also launched its “certified” programme for second-hand luxury bags, mobile phones and cars.
This means they have been checked for quality and authenticity before being sold on the platform. All certified luxury bags and mobile phone listings also have a money-back guarantee for buyers not satisfied with their purchase.
Ms Sun Xueling, chairman of the IMCS and Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development, 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 secured payment options.”
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) President Melvin Yong said he hoped the ratings would give consumers better awareness of the risks involved when shopping on e-commerce platforms.
However, he said more could be done to better protect online consumers.
“CASE calls on the government to make it mandatory for e-marketplaces to authenticate sellers and protect consumers’ prepayments through mechanisms such as escrows,” said Mr Yong.
An escrow is a third party where funds are held while relevant parties complete a transaction. In this case, sellers would only receive payment after the consumer has received their product.
CASE is also working on a new CaseTrust accreditation scheme for e-businesses that will help to address common consumer problems when shopping online, said Mr Yong.