June 16, 2024

Stock image / Inquirer files

An Philippine party list legislator, Rep. Michael Romero of 1-PACMAN party, has advocated for an investigation into online shopping frauds. This call to action follows a finding in the 2023 Asian Scam Report. The report named the Philippines as the country with the most prevalent online shopping scams among 11 Asian countries. These countries include Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia.

Romero has put forth House Resolution No. 1727, requesting the parliamentary trade and industry committee examine the growing scam incidences in online shopping. Romero cites the need to uphold consumer protection policies at the center of such investigations.

In 2023, it was reported that a total of 19,844 cybercrimes took place, with over half of these—11,071 or 55.67%—being online scams. Romero points to allegations from online shoppers who ordered costly products, only to receive boxes filled with wet wipes, rocks or toilet papers. He observes that an increasing number of consumers are lodging complaints related to e-commerce platforms’ deceptive, unfair and manipulative online sales tactics. —Jeannette I. Andrade

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Romero’s House Resolution No. 1727?

Romero drafted House Resolution No 1727 to urge the House committee on trade and industry to investigate the increasing incidents of online shopping scams in Philippines. The goal is to ensure that state policies focused on protecting consumer interest are upheld.

What results revealed the necessity for such an investigation?

The push for an inquiry came after the 2023 Asia Scam Report, which labelled Philippines as the nation with highest rate of online buying scams among 11 other Asian countries. Moreover, in 2023, of the reported 19,844 cybercrimes, over half of them were said to be online shopping scams.

What kinds of online scams have consumers filed complaints against?

Consumers have raised numerous complaints about being duped by e-commerce platforms. Reports range from issues of expensive merchandise ordered online being replaced with wet wipes, rocks or toilet papers, to claims of deceptive, unfair and unconscionable online business behaviors.