How to spot potential overseas spoof calls with ‘+’ prefix

16 Jul 2020


Spoof calls, which is a type of impersonation scam, are becoming more prevalent worldwide.

What are spoof calls?

These are carried out by scammers who mask their original country code and numbers and replace with a local number , they attempt to mislead victimsinto believing that these calls are from legitimate sources such as government agencies and local banks.

These spoof calls typically originate from overseas and are routed through multiple international networks, making it almost impossible for the source of the call to be traced.

According to the 2019 Singapore Police Force (SPF) Annual Crime Brief, more than S$21million was reported to have been cheated due to impersonation scams, of which spoof calls are a type of, in Singapore in 2019.

How can we protect ourselves from spoof calls?

In Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) has been working on a multi-pronged approach together with telecommunication operators, law enforcement agencies such as the Singapore Police Force, as well as other overseas regulators, to protect he public.. For example, commonly spoofed numbers in Singapore such as 999 and 995, have been blocked by local telecommunication operators.

From April 15 2020, all international calls will now carry a ‘+’ prefix All local. numbers will not have the ‘+’ prefix. For example:

  • E.g. 1: +852 2158 9632 (This is an overseas caller; be vigilant if you are not expecting an overseas call)
  • E.g. 2: 6834 5982 (This is a local caller as there is no ‘+’ prefix)
  • E.g. 3: +62024979 (This is likely to be a spoofed call. For local numbers, there will not be a “+” prefix)

For local numbers with a “+” prefix, it is likely to be a spofed calls and do be viligant if one is not expecting an overseas call.

By being extra careful when answering the phone, we can all do our part to protect ourselves against these scammers from cheating us through these spoof calls.