Digital Marketing Asia 2024 Singapore
marketing interactive Digital Marketing Asia Singapore 2024 Digital Marketing Asia Singapore 2024
SG releases new codes of practice for eCommerce and messaging platforms to curb scams

SG releases new codes of practice for eCommerce and messaging platforms to curb scams

share on

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced that providers of designated online services are to put appropriate systems to proactively disrupt scams and malicious cyber activities from June 26 onwards. 

Don't miss: Lee Hsien Loong warns citizens of deepfake video of him promoting scam investment

The new Code of Practice (COP) is issued under the existing framework termed the Online Criminal Harms Act (OCHA). According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), this framework is designed to strengthen the government's partnership with online services in combatting scams and malicious cyber activities.

The Competent Authority, sited within the Singapore Police Force, will issue two COPs, one for Online Communication Services (Online Communication Code) and another for eCommerce Services (eCommerce Code). 

Under the Online Communication Code, platforms are required to proactively detect and take action against suspected scams and malicious cyberactivities, as well as deploy verification safeguards and additional accountability measures. The code is applicable to online services that present the highest risk of scams to Singapore users, namely Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram and WeChat. 

Under the eCommerce Code, online services that facilitate eCommerce activities such as Carousell and Facebook Marketplace are subject to additional requirements, such as verifying users against government-issued records, and providing payment protection mechanisms that require deliveries to be verified before payment is released to sellers. 

Tackling online criminal harms requires a collaborative effort between the government, citizens and industry stakeholders, says MHA in a statement. It says that the government will continue to work with the industry to try to minimise criminal activities in the online space from affecting Singapore users. 

eCommerce platform Carousell has responded by stating its measures are "already largely in line with the Code of Practice" and have been in consultation with MHA over how to better operationalise certain measures.

In a statement, it raised its Singpass verification checks in high-risk categories such as 'Property' and 'Tickets & Vouchers' last year to mitigate scams. Users would earn a verified blue tick beside their username on their profile when they verify their identities through the Myinfo service via Singpass. From late June, Carousell aims to continue deploying Singpass verification in a more targeted approach for high-risk scenarios.

In addition, its AI system will also provide additional verification measures to users where their behaviours mirror known scam patterns or policy violations.

Meanwhile, eCommerce scams remain one of the top scam types in Singapore. In fact, in 2023, there were 9,783 reported eCommerce scam cases, a doubling from 4,762 cases in 2022.

These scams generally involve the sale of goods and services online, which are not delivered after payment has been made. 

The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams' (IMCS) eCommerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR) 2024 found that close to 50% of eCommerce scams reported in 2023 were perpetrated on Facebook, where the number of cases surged to 4,550 from 1,138 in 2022. Carousell comes in second with 2,476 cases followed by Telegram with 787 cases. 

Related articles:
WPP CEO Mark Read targeted by deepfake AI scam

Number of eCommerce scams in SG doubles in 2023, Facebook sees highest cases

MCMC and IMDA partner to combat phone scams across the border

share on

Follow us on our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene.

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window