A recent fraud study conducted by global payments firm ACI Worldwide has found that over a quarter of Ecommerce consumers in Singapore have fallen victim to online fraud in the past 5 years.
The robust study polled a total of 6,100 consumers across 20 countries. While the fraud rate in other countries is significantly higher, with countries like the US, China, and India averaging a 40% fraud rate, Singapore still has a moderately high rate on a global scale.
“Twenty-eight per cent of respondents in Singapore have indicated that they have experienced card fraud in the past five years,” said Mr Subhashish Bose, senior fraud consultant for ACI Worldwide.
According to ACI’s study, the global current fraud rate is 27%, locating Singapore just above the global average with 28%. From all the 20 countries surveyed, Singapore ranked 10th place among those with the highest levels of fraud.
The study also looked into consumer behavior, showing an average of 33% of those who fell victim to fraud in Singapore were unhappy with their financial service providers, with 15% of victims having left their banks as a result of fraudulent activity.
“Consumers are increasingly concerned about fraud and are losing confidence on a variety of levels … They are unsure that their financial institutions can protect them against fraud,” Bose added.
ACI’s study also found a total of 1,367 company-confirmed data breaches took place during 2013 alone.
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The comprehensive study comes at a time where a number of high alert security breaches swept the region. In 2012, account holders from Singapore banks DBS and POSB fell victim to an ATM card skimming scam, resulting in a total of S$500,000 being wrongfully taken. In February of this year, Citi, DBS, UOB and OCBC confirmed reports of attacks resulting in unauthorized card transactions.
Even in the light of these events, Singapore banks, primarily Citi as the largest card issuer in Singapore, have taken card security as a high priority, and offer 3D secure and OTP (one time password) for online use since as back as 2004.
“To date, while we have seen a number of card frauds, Singapore has not had issues on the same scale as other locations. This does not mean the threat is not real, but with the use of chip technology, limitations on overseas transactions, OTP and short message service (SMS) messaging, it has reduced the exposure,” said Mark Jansen, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ financial services risk partner.
Of course cardholders are also responsible for their own financial information. Banks such as OCBC have stressed numerous times the importance of online security and data protection from the cardholder’s end. Advice given to OCBC account holders includes non-disclosure of credit card details, avoidance of downloading and installing attachments from unknown’s sources, as well as avoiding public computers for conducting financial activities.
“Awareness is critical both at an organisational level and for the man in the street, who is subject to phishing attacks. In today’s world, being aware of how you are vulnerable is the first step in terms of preventing incidents,” Jansen added.