How Singapore consumers react to spam calls and SMS
- With the aim of restoring trust in phone calls, and in a move that aligns with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) initiatives to combat scams, Toku has joined the AB Handshake community, which will help to eliminate 100% of call frauds and safeguard people from scams for telco service providers that have also joined this community.
- A new survey of 1,000 consumers in Singapore by Toku revealed that 87% have received a scam call, of which 86% have answered said call. 10% of consumers surveyed have fallen prey to scams and suffered monetary loss.
Toku, Asia Pacific’s dedicated cloud communications and Singapore-licenced telecom service provider, today announces that it is the first telco-service provider in Singapore, and Southeast Asia, to join the global AB Handshake Community. Toku is currently the leading provider of virtual numbers in Singapore, providing 60% coverage of all virtual numbers in the country.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) welcomes Toku’s move to join the AB Handshake Community, which is an effort made by Toku to proactively fight against fraudulent calls. It represents a timely intervention within the Singapore telco space. According to the Singapore Police Force, victims lost at least S$633.3 million to scams in 2021. Many of these scams relied on voice calls to dupe victims, such as banking-related phishing scams, fake friend call scams and impersonating foreign government officials.
New survey reveals people in Singapore still largely vulnerable to phone scams
In a new survey commissioned by Toku, findings have shown that:
- Out of the 1,000 respondents in Singapore, 87% of respondents have received a scam call recently, and 75% actually answered the call. 10% of all the respondents have fallen prey and suffered monetary loss.
- While 59% of people have shown a higher reluctance to pick up numbers with a local country code displayed on their phone screens, 41% will still answer the call.
This means that people in Singapore are still largely vulnerable to phone scams if they are not vigilant.
Thomas Laboulle, Founder and CEO of Toku said, “As a Singaporean company, we are committed to finding new ways of protecting the Singapore community from fraudulent calls that are affecting almost everyone. Call frauds are responsible for the loss of personal information, and the loss of billions of dollars for companies. As phone scammers are increasingly using sophisticated tactics to run their call scams, we strive to restore trust back in phone calls by eliminating fraudulent calls. As we gain momentum and work towards building a stronger, safer and fraud-free telco community, we strongly urge other telco players in Singapore to join in the ongoing efforts.”
Thomas Laboulle, Founder and CEO of Toku continues, “Looking beyond Singapore, we are prepared to take this initiative to the other countries in the region where we operate, starting with Malaysia and Vietnam. With the telco players in these countries on board, we would be able to ensure that 179.58 million numbers are protected from fraud calls by the end of 2024.”
Creating an ecosystem for increased transparency and integrity to eliminate call fraud
This growing AB Handshake global community helps to serve the ever-evolving call fraud concerns by uniting telecom service providers to provide the scale needed for cross-authentic call registries. Within this community, telco-service providers are ensured that all voice traffic exchanges will be free from major types of voice fraud. Ultimately, this creates an ecosystem for telecom service providers to enable a safer call environment for their customers, which will lead to increased overall trust in their call services.
Nadejda Papernania, Founder of AB Handshake said, “We are pleased to be joining forces with Toku to expand the fraud-free global community to prevent fraudulent scam calls in the telecom industry, particularly in the Southeast Asia region. Our partnership with Toku will leverage the company’s industry expertise and in-market knowledge to encourage a growing community for other telecom players to join the community, which is an important step towards achieving a fraud-free community.”
As the Asia Pacific region is a highly fragmented telco market, Toku is currently in discussions with other telco players and regulatory bodies to build a framework that will provide an additional layer of validation to prevent call frauds, and instil trust in the system for users and businesses to interact seamlessly without worry or concerns.
Toku’s business in Singapore is already adhering to local telco regulations and licensing requirements. The InfoComm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore has recognised Toku as a Tier 1 Aggregator, which permits Toku to handle commercial SMS traffic. This includes anti-spoofing protocols for protected SMS.
Notes to the Editors:
- Survey methodology: 1,000 respondents who are based in Singapore, aged 18 – 65, were surveyed between 21 March and 1 April 2022. The survey recorded a mix of Singaporeans (85%) and foreigners and permanent residents living in Singapore (15%).
- Information about AB Handshake solution: AB Handshake enables an out-of-band ‘handshake’, or a separate channel communication that travels over the usual data stream, between the telco that originates the call and the telco that terminates the call. This means that every voice call is cross-validated by the originating and terminating telcos, making it impossible to commit fraud that relies on traffic manipulation by intermediaries.
- Technical information about the technology: Leveraging robust technologies such as HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) with TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption, telcos can verify call authenticity between active call registries which are maintained by the individual telcos, without compromising security.