Carousell launching new review system and tech to tackle fraudsters

To counter the rise in e-commerce scams, Carousell plans to use new technology to identify and block fraudsters from creating new accounts.

The online selling platform will also launch a feedback system allowing buyers to review sellers, so customers can have a better idea of vendors' behaviour, the company said on Tuesday.

E-commerce scams jumped to 2,125 cases last year, up by 11.4 per cent from 1,907 cases in 2017. About 70 per cent of them took place on Carousell, police said in their annual crime briefing yesterday.

However, according to Carousell's calculations, its fraud rate has fallen by 44 per cent from the first quarter of last year.

In the fourth quarter of last year, only about three in 10,000 transactions were fraudulent, said Carousell's vice-president of operations, Ms Tan Su Lin.

Ms Tan added that the company had taken measures to prevent fraud over the past year.

In June last year, it introduced Caroupay, a payment system which holds a buyer's payment and releases it to the seller only when both parties are satisfied with the transaction.

The firm also introduced fraud detection technology last year that can automatically detect and take down malicious online content.

Its team of content moderators - which reviews user reports and takes down bad accounts or listings - has been doubled in size to cover more content faster.

AIMING FOR 'CLOSE TO ZERO' SCAMS

As with crimes all over the world, I think no city can boast zero scams, so our target is to drive it (the number of scams) as close to zero as we can.

MS TAN SU LIN, Carousell's vice-president of operations, saying the firm will continue to have zero tolerance towards scams.

"Taking heart from the fact that our efforts have produced really good results, we're pushing at it and we're doing more," said Ms Tan.

Carousell will soon roll out new digital fingerprinting technology to prevent repeat fraudsters from creating new accounts to cheat users.

It identifies a fraudster's "digital persona", picking out a set of digital signals that fraudsters leave behind on the Internet which would single them out when they try to create new accounts.

 
 
 

"You close one door, and they (fraudsters ) open another window somewhere else, so we do prioritise doing things that stop them from coming back," said Ms Tan.

Carousell will also launch a new user feedback and star rating system on its app, where buyers can rate sellers on specific details of the transactions, such as the quality of goods.

Potential buyers would thus have a better idea of which sellers to trust, said Ms Tan.

She acknowledged that scams could still happen on the platform, but added that the company will continue to have zero tolerance towards scams.

"As with crimes all over the world, I think no city can boast zero scams, so our target is to drive it (the number of scams) as close to zero as we can."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2019, with the headline 'Carousell launching new review system and tech to tackle fraudsters'. Print Edition | Subscribe