Parliament Sitting on 3 September 2019

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

30. Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether additional measures can be introduced to tackle the issue of spam SMSes from illegal moneylenders and sports betting syndicates.


Answer:

Mr. Speaker, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) is working with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to counter spam SMSes that promote illicit activities such as illegal moneylending and sports betting.  Such SMSes are typically sent using prepaid SIM cards.  Hence, we have taken measures to curtail the abuse of prepaid SIM cards by criminal syndicates.  For example, since 2014, we have reduced the number of prepaid SIM cards that a single person can own.  

2. IMDA, MHA and SPF are studying other measures to tighten the prepaid SIM card regime.  In addition, IMDA is working with the telecommunication service providers to explore technical solutions to reduce such SMSes being delivered.  

3. As the public also plays an important part in this effort, SPF is stepping up efforts to increase public awareness through the use of infographics.  Individuals can also take steps to block such SMSes by using the spam filtering functions on their phones.  In addition, members of the public are advised to report unlicensed moneylending SMSes via the X-Ah Long Hotline (1800-924-5664) or SPF’s I-Witness platform. 

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