The sustainability of combating e-scamming.
In the 2020, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) revealed that Carousell had 1,319 cases of e-commerce scams, nearly 40% of all reported in the country.
Did that shock you?
I understand that Carousell, like all of its industry players, are working hard at it.
My question is: how economical and sustainable is it for Carousell, or any company, to continually combat and prevent scams from occurring on their platform?
Will it EVER be sustainable?
Like how the Cheetah and Gazelle has developed a highly systemic co-existence, tightly interlinked and forever in motion.
On the one hand, the Cheetah has to be perfectly adapted to run at such an incredible speed to catch its main food source, the Gazelle.
On the other hand, the Gazelle has to adapt by running zig-zag and using its higher stamina to tire the Cheetah if it wants to live, since it cannot outrun it in a straight line.
It is a constant battle between prey and predator.
Just like how scammers and buyers coexist in the free market on platforms like Carousell.
Scammers are developing increasingly sophisticated and perplexingly surreal scam techniques that are getting really hard to detect, prevent or identify.
Of course no platform or marketplace intended for scammers to appear, but like most things in life, when there are opportunities, there will be opportunists.
Ironically, platforms like Carousell, being mobile-first, chock-full of features to help the buying-selling process on both sides, can unintentionally attract more scammers.
It is now more convenient than ever, in the world we live in, with Paynow, instant messaging and high mobile penetration rates, for scammers to perpetuate their art of deception.
Ban them? No problem, they can just create a new account.
Leave reviews? Reviews can also be faked.
Force the banks to block or return the money? Good luck.
Carousell really have a gigantic problem in their mist and I am fascinated to see how they tackle these issues moving forward.
I have no doubt that Carousell will crush it eventually, because the team is stellar and their intentions are exceptional.
My prediction is that the deeptech space focused on such sectors such as scam-prevention, early detection systems and whatnot will boom.
That includes technologies like cybersecurity, big data processing, NLP, ML and AI.
It is a highly challenging but worthy problem to rectify as it would unlock so many doors in the future.
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