Carousell first retailer to use MyInfo to verify user identities

In an effort to tackle fraud, online marketplace Carousell is now giving its users the option to verify their identities via MyInfo, the digital vault of government-verified personal data.

Users can log into their SingPass accounts via the Carousell app, and when successful, will receive a blue verified badge on their profiles.

This additional level of identity authentication indicates that such users are more "genuine". Previously, users could only verify their identities using their e-mail or social media accounts, as well as their mobile phone numbers.

Ms Tan Su Lin, the company's vice-president of operations, said: "Fraud and scams are an industrywide challenge, and creating a layer of accountability and trust is one step in addressing the issue."

Carousell will not have any access to users' NRIC numbers, but the company will have access to a user's name, date of birth and registered address - items which users must consent to giving up. Users can also choose to deactivate their MyInfo-verified status at any time.

This is the first time a retailer is using MyInfo, a service developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech). Ever since the Government extended the integration of its digital vault to the private sector in 2017, the service has been taken up mainly by businesses in the financial sector.

Since the launch of the service on Carousell last weekend, a few thousand users have opted to verify their identities using MyInfo. Carousell hopes that in time, as many users as possible will also take up the option.

Ms Tan said: "Of course, just because a user has a verified badge does not mean that he is a good seller or buyer, and neither is a user a scammer if he does not get a verified badge. But because this is an additional layer of identity authentication, it does enhance the level of user accountability."

Mr Kwok Quek Sin, GovTech's senior director, National Digital Identity, said: "Digital transactions are now commonplace. It is therefore crucial for businesses to offer higher levels of assurance for users transacting on their platforms."

Carousell, Singapore's largest mobile classifieds marketplace, has attracted attention in the past for the large number of scams and other fraudulent activities on the platform. In the first half of last year, 80 per cent of e-commerce scams took place on Carousell. In February, however, the company said that its fraud rate had declined by 44 per cent, thanks to various initiatives such as investment in human resources and improvements to product and engineering. By the fourth quarter of last year, about three in 10,000 transactions were fraudulent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline 'Carousell first retailer to use MyInfo to verify user identities'. Print Edition | Subscribe