Forum: Telcos have the tech to fight scam calls

Posed photo of a person making a scam call.
Posed photo of a person making a scam call.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: THE NEW PAPER

Our telecommunications companies have not done enough to address the scourge of phone-based scams and fraudulent callers (A '+' prefix does not address root of scam call problem, by Mr Tan Hee Seng, March 12).

What can Singapore, as the world's second-most digitally competitive country, do? The prefix measure is ineffective and transfers the onus to consumers. Telcos should be more proactive in weeding out such crimes.

Given the sheer variety of phone numbers that scammers use to circumvent the identification and blocking of specific numbers, perhaps one part of the solution lies in the free provision of caller ID.

Moreover, telcos are likely to possess network infrastructure that supports call tracking. This might allow them to detect anomalous spikes in the number and frequency of calls, and identify the perpetrators behind the suspicious registrations.

This information can then be passed on to the police for swift action.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Communications and Information would do well to also mount campaigns educating the public and providing advice on the appropriate course of action when scammers call.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2020, with the headline 'Telcos have the tech to fight scam calls'. Print Edition | Subscribe