MCI Response to PQ on Service Staff Training at Telecommunications Companies to Spot Possible Scams
Parliament Sitting on 3 March 2023
QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
5. Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether there is any regulation or safeguard to ensure that service staff of telecommunications companies in Singapore are aware of any red flags, to prevent vulnerable groups such as elderly or special needs adults, from being exploited or scammed to sign up for mobile lines and phone contracts.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has required telecom operators to put in place measures to safeguard the interests of consumers who use telecommunication services. These measures are intended to protect all consumers, including those in vulnerable groups. Examples include requiring telco service staff to verify consumers’ identity during the registration process, explain key contractual terms and conditions to consumers at the point of sign-up, and ensure that these are understood before service sign-up.
In addition to regulatory safeguards, MCI’s public education programmes help to ensure that Singaporeans are equipped with digital literacy skills, and can safeguard themselves against online harms and threats. These include the SG Digital Office’s (SDO) Seniors Go Digital Programme and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s (CSA) SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme, which aim to raise seniors’ awareness of cybersecurity and cybercrime and encourage the adoption of good cyber hygiene practices. The Government also works with the people, private, and public (3P) sectors on ground-up initiatives under the Digital for Life (DfL) movement, to uplift digital literacy among vulnerable groups.
Taken together, these consumer protection measures and public education programmes help to protect our population from exploitation and scams by bad actors. The public must also remain vigilant by learning to identify and avoid scams and scam tactics such as signing up for mobile lines on behalf of strangers. All of us have a part to play in helping the more vulnerable segments of our community.