The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has stated that there have been 13,993 cases of online shopping fraud since August 2016. The government stated that there is a portal as well as a forum for consumers to submit their complaints regarding online shopping scams.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Piyush Goyal stated that there were 977 cases of online shopping fraud cases from August 2016 to March 2017, which more than doubled to 2,441 in April 2017 to March 2018.
In the period from April 2018 to March 2019 again cases of online shopping scams increased twice than the previous year to 4,955. In April 2019 to November 2019 period, such scams rose to 5,620, taking the total to 13,993 cases.
The minister said that the government has the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to safeguard the interests of the consumers. The act covers all goods and services as well as all modes of transactions including e-commerce. Goyal also said that the government has a quasi-judicial mechanism called Consumer Fora under the act, where an individual can file a complaint against unfair trade practices including e-commerce.
The minister said that there is a portal, consumerhelpline.gov.in, that enables consumers to file complaints. The National Consumer Helpline (NCH) has joined forces with some companies to resolve consumer complaints, he stated. The NCH also advises consumers to file an FIR or make a police complaint or cyber cell if the company is not traceable.
Recently, a survey by the global cyber-security company McAfee revealed that around 56 per cent of Indians have fallen victim to discount scams. Almost one in every four Indian was deceived because of phishing emails and phishing texts, stated McAfee's Christmas Scam survey.