Carousell on Wednesday (26 Aug) said the company’s fraud rate has declined by 0.036 per cent over the past three months, which means that only approximately three in every 10,000 transactions on the Singapore-based online marketplace were fraudulent.
Citing the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) latest report, the Singapore-based consumer-to-consumer marketplace noted that it has reduced its overall share in the percentage of all e-commerce scams by sustaining its investments in marketplace safety and strong partnership with the authorities.
“To strengthen safety messaging, Carousell works closely with the Singapore Police Force to endorse our messages whenever possible.
“To ensure that users can easily access these safety tips, Carousell ensures that they are always visible in easily digestible formats at every user touchpoint, from banners to pop-up notifications, and even prompts that appear in direct messages to users,” it stated in a press statement.
The company added that the pandemic has caused a spike in fraudulent activity in February which prompted it to take immediate action against bad actors and address the influx of opportunistic behaviour.
“In order to ensure that all listings for COVID-19 related items, such as masks and sanitisers were priced fairly, Carousell’s team of dedicated moderators removed inflated listings and suspended users where necessary.
“Users were also encouraged to report suspicious listings and even with community flags more than doubling from Q1 to Q2, 100% of the reports were reviewed within 24 hours, with more than half of all reports attended to within an hour,” it asserted.
Carousell has nearly doubled the number of engineers to tighten its marketplace safety and improve the detection of scam patterns since the beginning of the year, with the percentage of suspicious accounts detected and suspended automatically increasing by over 20 per cent.
It also restricts the account creation process for users – which it limits each user to have only one account and implements tighter verification requirements – after it found that users with multiple accounts accounted for 20 per cent of total fraudulent users.
But those who request for an additional account to differentiate between their personal and business account will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will be notified by Carousell.
“Carousell strongly encourages users to opt for Carousell Protection, previously known as CarouPay, its trusted escrow payment solution, which provides assurance to users by holding payment until a transaction is verified successful by both buyer and seller.
“During the COVID-19 period, it was mandatory for listings in selected high-risk categories, including masks and electronics, to be Carousell Protection enabled,” it added.
SPF: Crimes increased by 11.6% in first half of 2020, mainly contributed by scam cases
Earlier today, the SPF in a news release stated that the total number of reported crimes has increased by 11.6 per cent to 18,121 cases in the first half of 2020, which mainly contributed by scam cases. Online scams have spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic as people carried out more online transaction while being confined at their home.
Physical crime, however, has declined by almost 2,000 cases which comprised of crimes against persons such as serious hurt, outrage of modesty and rioting, housebreaking and related crimes, as well as theft.
According to the police, the total amount of money cheated for the top 10 scam types increased to S$82 million in the first half of the year, which doubled from the S$41.6 million in the same period last year.
The authorities noted that e-commerce scams, social media impersonation scams, loan scams and banking-related phishing scams have made up 71 per cent of the top 10 scam types and indicated these “of particular concern”.
E-commerce scams increased by 73.8 per cent to 2,089 in the first half of this year and the total amount of money cheated rose to S$5.4 million, with the largest sum cheated in a single case on an online marketplace reported to be S$175,000.
The police added that about 294 cases reported between January and June this year involved COVID-19 related items such as face masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers.
Meanwhile, cyber extortion cases spiked to 81 in the first half of 2020, compared to 25 cases last year. Criminals would normally coax the victims – after befriended them online – into performing indecent acts in front of the camera and use photos or video footage to extort money from the victims.
The police explained that the total amount of money lost by victims to cyber extortion cases was over S$190,000, with the amount of S$26,000 money loss in a single case. Most of these cases happened on social media platforms such as Facebook, Tinder and MiChat.
“Business operators such as banks, digital platform owners and telcos have a responsibility to prevent, deter and detect crimes committed through their platforms,” it stated, while urging these parties to implement anti-scam measures to ensure the safety of their customers.