KUALA LUMPUR: The expanding e-commerce sector which saw more consumers using online transaction following the COVID-19 pandemic has indirectly invited many scammers, using various tactics and tricks by exploiting the technology, to commit fraud.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said most of the fraud cases involved online transaction, as well as misleading services, imitation goods and misleading prices.
“Therefore, scams in the context of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA) involves cheating in the purchase of goods or service online in terms of price or the goods themselves, like goods are not delivered, misleading advertisements and so on,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama.
Nanta said the ministry received a total of 15,957 complaints from consumers for the period from Jan 1 to July 31 this year, and of that number, online scam recorded the highest number with 4,760 cases, misleading prices (4,187) and misleading services (3,289).
Selangor recorded the highest, with 4,611 complaints, followed by Kuala Lumpur (3,601) and Johor (1,272), he said.
According to a report by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) from 2020 to May 2022, he said, a total of 71,833 scam cases were reported, involving losses amounting to RM5.2 billion, with 68 percent of them involving online scammers.
“MDTCA received 4,018 complaints regarding online scams from 2020 to Feb 17, 2022 involving losses to RM21.7 million,” he said.
With the increasing trend involving such a fraud, he said, MDTCA took proactive measures to enhance public awareness on tactics used by the scam syndicate.
He said the ministry implemented various consumer advocacy programmes, as well as exposed to the public on the fraudulent techniques, such non-existent businesses, high deposits and having to pay in advance for gifts offered or to enter contest.
Nanta said that under the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations 2012, the ministry’s enforcement division is empowered to investigate and take action against those who violate the regulations.
“The regulations require traders to disclose eight key information, namely the trader’s name, business registration number, email and telephone number, details of the main characteristics of goods/services offered, the price of goods, including delivery cost, payment methods, terms/conditions and estimated delivery time,” he said.
He said the information had to be disclosed by traders to make it easier for consumers to make their choices, get additional information and communicate with traders so that consumers don’t feel cheated, as well as to facilitate action by the ministry if there is complaints from consumers .
Nanta added the ministry will step up cooperation with PDRM, CyberSecurity Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Consumer Association to expose the evil tactics of scammers to avoid consumers from falling prey to them. – BERNAMA