Temu takes action against scam websites in effort to strengthen consumer trust

SHENZHEN, China, Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Temu, the e-commerce platform renowned for its exceptionally low prices, is intensifying its efforts to safeguard its reputation amid a surge in scams exploiting its rising popularity.

Since its U.S. launch last September, Temu has rapidly expanded its user base, addressing underserved demand for affordable, practical merchandise. It is currently the most downloaded app in the UK and US and has had more than 100m downloads in the US and Europe since January. Temu’s growth trajectory has been bolstered by robust marketing strategies, encompassing an array of coupons, giveaways, lotteries, and cash incentives. 

One of Temu’s standout marketing initiatives was a referral reward scheme, offering up to $100 in cash for users who successfully encouraged five friends to join the app. However, this success also attracted opportunistic scammers, who mimicked Temu to deceive consumers into believing they were purchasing from legitimate Temu websites.

On November 8, Temu took action against some websites. These websites trick users into downloading fraudulent Temu apps that compromise personal data, introduce malware, and compromise device security.

This is part of series of measures taken by Temu to protect its customers and brand reputation. On October 30, Temu took action against another 20 imposter websites. These websites are designed to look like Temu-related platforms, enticing shoppers to make purchases and further expose them to online scams.

The actions by these scam sites “not only damages our reputation but also hurts consumers who were deceived into believing they were engaging with genuine Temu platforms. We are determined to take action to defend our rights and shield our customers from such malicious and unlawful activities,” a spokesperson for Temu told PingWest.

“We advise customers to only download apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, and not to click on suspicious links on social media,” added the spokesperson.

Like other popular apps, Temu is facing more scrutiny as it gains in popularity worldwide. Ironically, the company’s innovative approach to offering wholesale-like prices—by bypassing intermediaries and directly connecting consumers with manufacturers—has elicited skepticism among some consumers. Long accustomed to paying for hidden costs from middlemen and their markups, some customers find it hard to believe Temu’s low prices are feasible without any wrongdoing.

Retail expert Andrea Woroch ordered a white shelf from Temu to organize her children’s arts and crafts supplies. Woroch said the shelf arrived within a week and was exactly what she ordered.

“They’re able to keep prices down because they’re cutting out the middleman. They’re connecting shoppers directly with wholesalers and manufacturers who are then sending those products out,” Woroch said.

Short-sellers, which have vested financial interests to spread negative misinformation, have targeted Temu’s data practices. In response, Temu explains that its data security and collection methodologies are consistent with industry norms. The company says it collects less consumer information compared to some of its industry peers. Temu also states that it follows a principle of maximum transparency, limiting data collection and utilization to specific, justified circumstances.

Temu has also reiterated its dedication to transparent data practices. Its app is available for download on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, both known for their stringent vetting. 

Speaking to PingWest, a representative from the company stated, “Our commitment to data security is exemplified through our PCI-certified payment links. We collaborate with leading payment providers such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay to ensure the utmost protection of our users’ financial information.”

Upon examining the “Permissions” settings of the Temu app, PingWest found that it does not require access to the microphone, contacts, Bluetooth, clipboard, location, photos, reminders, and other similar features. For a comprehensive review of the company’s privacy policy, interested individuals can visit Temu’s Privacy and Cookie Policy at (https://www.temu.com/au/privacy-and-cookie-policy.html).

Temu is backed by a Nasdaq-listed e-commerce group PDD Holdings, which has a market capitalization of more than $140 billion. PDD reported its second-quarter financial results in August, with revenue up 66% year-over-year to 52.28 billion yuan. When asked by analysts about Temu’s growth, PDD executives said the platform is still in its early stages and that their focus is on understanding consumer demand in the different markets.

Temu is currently available to residents in 48 markets around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Malaysia.