Fraud In Online Services A Trend In Malaysia

Malaysia business district
A view of a building site beneath the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 18, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Olivia Harris)

Malaysia is experiencing a gradually growing trend in fraudulent activities involving online services, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution warned.

According to the Malay Mail, Saifuddin said during the launch of the MyPay service platform on Thursday that online fraud is a worsening case in the country. "On average, the ministry gets 2,500 monthly complaints. Of this 26.2 percent of them are of online fraud," he revealed.

Saiffudin warned that the appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that online fraud in Malaysia will be cut off so public confidence in online transactions will be retained. He further noted that the government's efforts in pushing for a digital economy will be hampered if online fraud is not blocked as soon as possible.

For Saiffudin, online businesses should be made aware of the ongoing trend of online fraud, adding that registering with the Companies Commission of Malaysia's Biztrust certification program will help with this cause.

So far, the most common forms of online fraud that were raised with the ministry include damaged goods that were still delivered as well as the delivery of products that did not match the advertisements.

Another problem that Malaysia's e-commerce sector is faced with is delays in delivery times. In the ASEAN region, the country is one of the slowest in terms of delivering orders for paid goods. Complaints about deliveries reaching up to six days before arrival was recorded.

To help reduce the probability of fraudulent transactions, MyPay was launched for government-related payments and necessary fees to ensure that the money of payers will be in safe hands.

With platforms such as MyPay, the ministry is hoping that additional safe options for payments and online transactions will be established in the country. The ultimate goal is to help reduce fraudulent activities on e-commerce and government outlets where purchases or payments need to be made.

E-commerce fraud is the second most complained issue that the ministry has been dealing with over the past few months. The complaints are believed to be hampering with Malaysia's bid to adopt fintech developments.

Meanwhile, fintech (financial technology) has yet to gain considerable attention in Malaysia, as with other ASEAN member countries. Aside from online fraud becoming more prevalent, there is still not enough policies to promote safe online transactions.

On Thursday, Malaysian Economic Action Council member Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid said fintech is expected to help unbanked households have options for payments, savings, and credit. However, the ASEAN region has yet to establish policies that will finally implement fintech-related activity for citizens.

Munir suggested that the ASEAN, including Malaysia, should come up with a "region-wide ecosystem" that capitalizes on a digital economy. He said technological improvements to the financial and banking segments in the region are necessary so citizens can feel the benefits of such innovations.

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