SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has released alarming statistics regarding the surge in e-commerce fraud cases in Singapore, with numbers doubling compared to the previous year.

According to the E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR) 2024 released by the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS) this week, Facebook Marketplace received only one tick, marking it as the worst-rated e-commerce market for the third consecutive year.

The report, issued on Wednesday (April 10), evaluated major local e-commerce markets based on their security measures and influence, categorizing them from one to four ticks, with four ticks representing the highest security rating. Platforms that have implemented critical anti-fraud measures earn a full four-tick rating.

E-commerce fraud, a persistent threat, saw a staggering 9,783 cases reported last year, a significant increase from the 4,762 cases the year prior. Of particular concern is the surge in fraudulent activities on Facebook, with nearly half of the reported cases (4,550 out of 9,783) occurring on the social media giant’s platform.

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The modus operandi of e-commerce fraud typically involves sellers failing to deliver goods or services after receiving payment.

However, amidst these troubling statistics, there are glimmers of progress. Shopee, for instance, managed to improve its rating from the previous year and achieved a perfect score. The platform’s implementation of stringent security measures, including user verification for all sellers, contributed to a notable 65% decrease in reported e-commerce fraud cases.

On the other hand, established players like Amazon, Lazada, and Qoo10 maintained their four-tick ratings, while Carousell received two ticks. No platform secured a three-tick rating.

In response to these findings, the MHA issued a reminder urging consumers to exercise caution when transacting on e-commerce platforms lacking recommended security measures.

Emphasizing the importance of user verification and secure payment options, Minister of State for the MHA, Sun Xueling, stressed the need for collaboration between the government and e-commerce marketplaces to combat fraud effectively.

A Shopee representative expressed appreciation for the recognition of their efforts in enhancing transaction security. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Carousell reiterated the company’s commitment to prioritizing trust and security for its users.

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Addressing concerns about Facebook Marketplace’s low rating, a Meta spokesperson clarified that the platform does not support payment transactions and thus operates differently from traditional e-commerce platforms. However, they affirmed Facebook’s support for the Singapore government’s anti-fraud efforts and pledged continued cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

In light of these developments, the MHA encourages more platforms to collaborate with law enforcement to safeguard online users and combat the rising threat of e-commerce fraud.