Parliament Sitting on 9 May 2022

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

42. Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what is the number of overseas scam calls that have been reported in 2021 and 2022 respectively; and (b) whether requiring telecommunication providers to give users the option to block all overseas calls will be viable.

Answer:

1. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) and the Singapore Police Force (“SPF”) are closely partnering the local telecommunication providers (“telcos”) to block suspicious calls. In 2021, the telcos blocked an average of 15 million incoming overseas calls each month, including spoofed numbers resembling those of local Government agencies and emergency services. Telcos have also added the “+” prefix for all incoming overseas calls since April 2020 to alert users to overseas calls, especially as scammers continue to spoof local calls using the “65” prefix.

2. Although there are a small number of telcos internationally that allow consumers to block overseas calls as part of their commercial service offerings, we are not aware of any regulator that requires telcos to do so. IMDA is currently in discussion with the telcos on the feasibility and implications of providing consumers with the option to block overseas calls. A decision will be taken after the review. 

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