IMDA exploring tech to block automated scam calls, messages

IMDA exploring tech to block automated scam calls, messages

SINGAPORE: The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) is looking into blocking automated scam calls and text messages promoting illegal activities.

Minister for Communications and Information (MCI) S Iswaran revealed this in a written answer to a parliamentary question by Nominated Member of Parliament Assoc Prof Walter Theseira on Tuesday (Jan 15).

READ: Singapore Airlines warns of phishing website offering free air tickets

Assoc Prof Theseira had asked whether MCI has studied technological solutions to block automated scam calls - including those which pretend to represent the authorities - and text messages that solicit illegal lending, online gambling or other illegal activities.

Mr Iswaran said IMDA is studying solutions adopted or being developed by other jurisdictions, such as verifying legitimate calling numbers.

He added that such technologies are still nascent and their effectiveness yet to be determined, and IMDA, an agency under MCI, is exploring their feasibility.

Mr Iswaran also said that IMDA is working to prevent the usage of prepaid SIM cards to carry out criminal activities, in cooperation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Singapore Police Force.

READ: At least 10 reports of scams involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts in January: Police

Assoc Prof Theseira also asked if MCI will direct telecommunications service providers to develop or deploy technologies to tackle scam calls and text messages.

The minister replied that telecommunication service providers are assisting the police to address this issue.

"Other stakeholders also play an important role in combating these calls and text messages. Our telecommunication service providers are assisting the Police to address scams and text messages that solicit illegal moneylending, online gambling, or other illegal activities."

Mr Iswaran added that the public can take steps to protect themselves from such schemes by reporting the spam-caller number and using a spam filter.

"More importantly, we must help educate our loved ones so that they do not fall prey to the illegal activities being promoted through such calls and text messages," he said.

Source: CNA/jt(mn)

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