E-commerce scams on Carousell see 136% spike

According to an article on Channel News Asia, the Singapore Police Force said that e-commerce scams on Carousell saw a 136% rise in the first half of this year, totalling it to 1,020 cases between January and June. This involved transactions such as tickets to events and attractions in Singapore.

In addition, the SPF also said in the article that the overall e-commerce scams in Singapore have surged by 58% from 808 cases reported last year to 1,277 cases in the period of January to June this year.  However, 80% of these scams come from the Carousell platform.

The SPF also told CNA that the anonymity online has made this issue a challenging one to resolve. Marketing has reached out to Carousell and SPF for more details.

Despite the e-commerce scams on its platform, an article by Tech in Asia reported that Carousell has gathered US$1.73 million in revenue.

Abstracting the figures from Carousell's latest financial statement, the article also said that US$13.1 million were spent on marketing expenses for the year ended 2017. Both marketing and staff costs expenses accumulated to a US$29.8 million loss before tax for the year ended 2017. Carousell has yet to reveal its 2018 figures but has said that both the revenue and user base saw "healthy" growth rates, the article added.

In a bid to enhance safe user experience, Carousell has launched CarouPay as an integrated payment system for users to buy and sell more conveniently. Caroupay, developed through a partnership with DBS, Stripe and Visa, allows direct payment using DBS PayLah!, both credit and debit cards as well.

However, Caroupay will hold onto the funds until the consumer has received the item as the marketplace takes measures to provide a safe platform for both buyers and sellers.

It is not the first time Carousell has seen scams on its platform. Last year, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued advisory warning fans of Universal Studios Singapore (USS) Halloween Horror Nights to be wary of ticketing scams. According to the police advisory, a majority of these online purchase scam cases were advertised on Carousell and Facebook.

Between 30 August and 29 September 2017, SPF had received at least 35 reports of online purchase scams involving USS Halloween tickets, higher than the year before. The total amount cheated for the 35 cases has added up to more than SG$21,500, with the amounts ranging from SG$45 to SG$7,000 in a single case, according to the advisory.

In a conversation with Marketing, a Carousell spokesperson said that trust and safety is a top priority for the company. The spokesperson explained that the platform is “constantly working to improve user features and internal processes that provide a safe and enjoyable environment” for its community to buy, sell and connect with interest groups.

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