Everything About the E-Commerce Safety Rating in S’pore, Whereby Shopee is the “Safest” & Facebook the “Most Unsafe”

If you frequently fall prey to online shopping mishaps (like me), this article could offer useful guidance on where to shop wisely and avoid scams.

In the latest round of the E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR), Shopee has attained a full four ticks, placing it in the same league as industry giants like Amazon, Lazada, and Qoo10. 

Image: mha.gov.sg

Meanwhile, Facebook Marketplace remains at the bottom of the ratings, retaining just one tick, while Carousell remains at two ticks. 

Both E-commerce platforms have consistently occupied the lower tiers since the inception of the ratings in May 2022.

What is the TSR?

Published by the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams, the 2024 edition of the TSR offers valuable insights into the safety measures adopted by various e-commerce platforms. 

These ratings, which refresh annually, are based on a comprehensive evaluation of the platforms’ anti-scam features. These include:

  • Measures to verify seller authenticity.
  • Measures to monitor fraudulent seller behaviour.
  • Availability of secure payment options.
  • Maintenance of transaction records and user data.
  • Reporting and Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
Image: mha.gov.sg

Established in April 2020 to tackle the growing menace of scams, the committee comprises key government bodies like the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Communications and Information, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The initiative to introduce the ratings system was rolled out in May 2022, aiming to provide consumers with a comprehensive assessment of e-commerce platforms’ safety measures.

In addition to user verification, marketplaces are evaluated on transaction safety, consumer loss remediation, and the efficacy of their anti-scam measures.

TSR 2024 Ratings Revealed

According to an April 10 announcement by MHA, Shopee’s rating has risen from three ticks to four, thanks to the implementation of critical safety features like full user verification using government-issued documents for all sellers.

As a result of these measures, the count of e-commerce scams reported on Shopee fell by 65%, dropping from 311 cases in 2022 to 109 cases in 2023.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, reported scams quadrupled, soaring from 1,138 cases in 2022 to 4,550 in 2023.

These accounted for 46.5% of the total 9,783 e-commerce scam reports in 2023, doubling the 4,762 cases in 2022. Victims incurred losses exceeding $13.9 million to e-commerce scams in 2023.

On February 29 during MHA’s budget debate in Parliament, Sun had criticized Meta, which owns Facebook, for consistently pushing back against the ministry’s recommendations to combat scams.

Meta had responded in defense, stating it was reviewing MHA’s suggestions and had already taken action against 1.3 billion fake accounts in the final quarter of 2022.

MHA had highlighted that these scams typically revolved around the online sale of goods and services, where payment was made but the items were not delivered.

They also noted that the police collaborated with platforms by physically co-locating their staff at the Anti-Scam Command. Both Carousell and Shopee stationed their personnel there from January to March.

“We encourage more online platforms and e-commerce marketplaces to do so,” said MHA.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling, who leads the committee, expressed gratitude to e-commerce platforms collaborating on TSR, stating on 10 April that, “In the fight against scams, partners are essential. The Government cannot do this alone.” 

She also emphasized the importance of partnerships in combating scams, urging platforms to adopt critical safety measures like user verification and secure payment options.