Singapore launches security rating scheme for e-commerce sites

Singapore has launched a rating scheme that evaluates e-commerce markets based on their measures against scams. Their Technical Guidelines for Online Transactions have also been updated to provide more detail on protecting against scams.

The e-commerce marketplace’s Transaction Security Ratings (TSRs) aimed to assess the extent to which these platforms had implemented anti-fraud measures that ensured, among other things, user authenticity, transaction security, and availability of loss repair channels for consumers.

For example, it would assess whether e-commerce marketplaces had measures in place to verify the identity of sellers and whether they were continuously monitoring fraudulent seller behavior. Platforms would also be ranked on the use of secure payment tools for transactions, as well as the availability of dispute resolution and reporting mechanisms.

The information served to alert users to the safety of transacting with these online sites, the Home Office and the Singapore Standards Council said in a joint statement on Saturday. The ratings covered “major e-commerce marketplaces” that facilitate transactions between multiple sellers and buyers, with “significant” local reach or a significant number of reported e-commerce scams.

The lowest score registers one tick, while the scale slopes to four ticks. E-commerce marketplaces with all critical measures against scams received the highest rating of four points, according to the ministry.

TSR scores are reviewed each year. The current listing has given Facebook Marketplace the lowest rating of one tick, while Carousell has two ticks, Shopee has three, and Qoo10 has four ticks along with Amazon and Lazada.

To further enhance protection against scams, the National Standard for Electronic Commerce Transactions has also been updated to include additional guidelines for online retailers and marketplaces.

The latest Technical Reference 76, which was first published in June 2020, covered best practices for securing different areas of online transactions, covering pre-, during-, and post-purchase activities, customer service, and merchant verification.

E-marketplaces, for example, should consider implementing preventive safeguards against fraudulent merchants on their platforms, such as activating early warning mechanisms when unverified devices are used to access the account. Merchants deemed to be at risk of fraud should also be blacklisted by the marketplace, restricting their activities on the platform or raising customer awareness of the risks involved.

“The [TR76] the intent is to better enable merchant authenticity, enhance transaction security and help the app against e-commerce scams,” the Singapore Home Office and Standards Council said, adding that the additional guidelines were part of the security features qualified in the TSR. “Generally, eCommerce marketplaces that adopt the TR76 guidelines would score better on the TSR.”

In recent years, Singapore has stepped up its efforts to improve underlying infrastructure that it believes will pave the way for the country to become a global and regional e-commerce hub. The country’s “five-pronged” strategy to do so includes building local 5G networks, supply chain capabilities and payment platforms.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in February that it was working on a liability framework detailing how losses from online scams would be shared between key parts of the ecosystem, stressing that victims of such scams should not Assume that they will recover. your losses. This framework would operate on the basis that all parties had a responsibility to be vigilant and take precautions against scams, MAS said.


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