Parliament Sitting on 11 May 2021

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


15. Mr Murali Pillai:
To ask the Minister for Communications and Information having regard to the significant increase in spoofed calls received in Singapore from scammers based overseas, whether IMDA will consider directing telecommunication service providers here to block overseas calls received in Singapore which carry the misleading prefix “+65”.

Answer:

IMDA has worked with the telecom operators to block known numbers used to perpetuate scams, including those that start with “+656” and spoof the numbers of well-known government agencies. IMDA had also considered blocking all international incoming calls that use local-looking numbers (i.e. those that would appear to the end-user as “+65”).   However, this was assessed to be unfeasible, as there are legitimate international incoming calls that will carry the “+65” prefix.  Such examples include Singapore-based callers who travel overseas and call Singapore using mobile roaming services, as well as overseas call centres of local businesses who hold local numbers for their hotlines.  

2. IMDA, together with MHA/SPF, has stepped up efforts to educate the public not to pick up calls with a “+” or “+65” prefix if they are not expecting any calls from overseas.  IMDA will continue to work closely with the telecom operators and with MHA/SPF on measures to combat scams/spoofed calls and to better protect our citizens.