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Singapore’s IMCS Initiates Two Anti-Scam Projects

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The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS) of Singapore has initiated two new programmes with the goal of protecting e-commerce marketplaces from fraudulent activity. These are E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (“TSR”) and the Revised Technical Reference 76 on Guidelines for Electronic Commerce Transactions (“TR 76”).

The E-commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings build on these guidelines, by raising consumer awareness of the anti-scam measures on major e-commerce marketplaces in Singapore. MHA would like to thank our partners from the e-commerce industry for working with us on these initiatives to combat e-commerce scams.

– Desmond Tan, Chairman, the Inter-Ministry Committee of Scams & Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment

Desmond said that the adoption of anti-scam procedures in the amended TR 76 recommendations by e-commerce businesses and marketplaces would increase the security of e-commerce transactions and protect customers from e-commerce fraud.

TSR aims to provide consumers with information on anti-scam measures that major e-commerce marketplaces have in place while the TR 76 seeks to provide e-retailers and online intermediaries such as additional requirements for e-commerce marketplaces to protect e-commerce transactions from fraud.

The TSR provides consumers with information regarding the transactional security of various e-commerce marketplaces based on the range of anti-scam methods in place. It encompasses big e-commerce marketplaces that support online transactions between numerous sellers and multiple buyers and has a considerable local reach or a significant number of reported e-commerce frauds.

Major e-commerce marketplaces have been rated for their overall security. The ranking indicates the level to which anti-scam measures have been adopted to assure user authenticity; transaction safety; the availability of loss reparation channels for consumers; and the effectiveness of their anti-scam procedures. One to four ticks are available, with four ticks being the highest and best rating and will be awarded to e-commerce marketplaces that implement all essential anti-scam procedures. Annually, these ratings will be evaluated.

Consumers can also refer to the TSR microsite for safety feature warnings and specialised marketplace features. The goal of the TSR microsite is to improve consumer awareness of security measures that safeguard e-commerce transactions and to encourage the use of such features and best practises when conducting business online.

On the other hand, TR 76 as the national standard for e-commerce transactions, has been updated to incorporate additional anti-scam rules for e-retailers and e-commerce platforms in order to provide enhanced safety for online customers. Enterprise Singapore oversaw its development through a multi-stakeholder Working Group constituted by the Singapore Standards Council.

The additional anti-scam regulations will outline recommended practices for e-commerce companies and marketplaces. These best practices encompass the pre-, during-, and post-purchase phases of transactions, as well as customer assistance and merchant verification.

One of the key recommendations for TR 76 is that e-marketplaces should determine the information to acquire from merchants and the verification processes to follow. Wherever possible, e-marketplaces should check their merchant’s information against Government records or compare it to the identification document(s) provided; while the merchant verification is outsourced to a third-party service provider, the e-marketplace shall implement measures to facilitate, whenever possible, the prompt retrieval of records.

The goal is to improve merchant authentication, transaction security, and enforcement against e-commerce fraud. The new rules in TR76 are graded as part of the TSR’s safety features. In general, e-commerce platforms that adhere to TR76 standards would receive a higher TSR score.

These rules encompass the end-to-end process of e-commerce transactions and believe they will assist e-retailers and e-marketplaces in improving the traceability and security of customer transactions.

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