Singapore telcos offer call blocking from international numbers to combat scams


About 1.6 billion international calls are received annually in Singapore, with such calls made by many scammers who operate overseas, said IMDA.

The authority noted that more than 300 million scam calls were blocked by the telcos from January to September last year, the equivalent of around one in every four incoming calls from international numbers blocked for this period.

“To combat the threat posed by international scam calls, IMDA and the telcos have progressively introduced measures. This includes upfront blocking of all international calls that exhibit unusually high frequency, as these are likely scam calls made using automated systems,” said IMDA.

“In addition, all international incoming calls where the caller ID is falsified with a +65 prefix to resemble a call made from Singapore, were also identified and blocked.”

IMDA added that by mid-2024, telco subscribers will have the option to block both calls and SMSes from international numbers on their mobile phones.

In an interview with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao on Dec 18, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo said that the call-blocking feature would “prevent the vulnerable who may accidentally answer an overseas call from a scammer and be tricked into it”.

“Speaking as a person with an elderly parent, I find this feature useful because I can then activate it for my parents’ mobile phones,” said Mrs Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity.

IMDA urged the public to continue being on guard as scammers’ tactics evolve. “Scammers will continue to change their methods and tactics and there is no foolproof measure even as we continue to monitor and implement additional safeguards,” it said.

“IMDA will continue to work with other stakeholders in the fight against scams.”

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