Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Increase in E-commerce Scams on Online Marketplaces, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 10 September 2018


Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in view of the increase in e-commerce scams on online marketplaces (a) what is the solving rate for such cases; (b) how many offenders have been prosecuted so far, and (c) how is the Ministry working with e-commerce companies to protect users.



  1. Only a minority of e-commerce scams have been solved. One reason is that a significant proportion of online crimes, including e-commerce scams, are committed by syndicates based overseas. Online crimes are also difficult to solve due to the anonymity provided by the internet.


  2. For the same reasons, the number of persons prosecuted is low compared to the number of scams reported.


  3. Police have been working with operators of online platforms to put in place measures to better protect users. The online platforms have put up advisories on how users can minimise their risk of falling victim to scams – for example, to require cash on delivery and to check the items carefully before completing the transaction.


  4. If advance payments are required, users should make use of secured payment systems. For example, Carousell has recently introduced CarouPay, an escrow payment system. Using the system, payment will only be released to the sellers after the buyers have acknowledged receipt of the items purchased.


Managing Security Threats