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Government announces new measures to combat the increase in telephone scams that impersonate banks

Government announces new measures to combat the increase in telephone scams that impersonate banks

Jeickson Sulbaran

February 17, 2024 | 8:38 a.m.

All the phone scams, phenomenon that continues to grow at an alarming rate, have put the financial security of many Spaniards in check. These deceptions, which cleverly imitate legitimate entities such as banks, public administrations and courier companies, have forced the authorities to take action on the matter. The Ministry of Digital Transformation has launched a public consultation to evaluate technical measures against this worrying trend. This is a step forward in the fight against a problem that not only affects citizens' pockets, but also their trust in the system.

He 'telephone spoofing', this technique by which scammers make it appear that they are calling or sending messages from legitimate phone numbers, has become a common tool in these scams. Criminals, using increasingly sophisticated tactics, get their victims to trust them, even encouraging them to verify phone numbers online. These methods have caused serious damage, as in the case of a family that lost all its savings after being deceived by an alleged representative of the ING bank.

The vulnerability of the SS7 protocol and the risk in SMS

The Government will implement measures against the increase in telephone scams

El The Ministry has also focused on the SS7 protocol, used by traditional telephony, identifying it as one of the main vulnerabilities. This protocol, being an older and less secure technology, makes it easier to carry out these scams. In the case of SMS, the problem is even more serious, since fake messages appear mixed with legitimate ones, which increases the risk of being deceived. The ease with which these messages can be sent, without the need for advanced hacking skills, makes SMS spoofing a constant threat.

Ministry proposals to combat spoofing

Among the measures proposed by the Ministry are:

  • The creation of a single database to control the use of names and alphanumeric codes in SMS messages.
  • Blocking calls from foreign origin that use Spanish call IDs.
  • The implementation of a specific numbering range for commercial calls, facilitating their identification and blocking.
  • The creation of lists of unused numbers to prevent their use in scams.
  • Take inspiration from international initiatives such as STIR/SHAKEN to improve the reliability of the CLI.
  • Implement DNO (Do Not Originate) lists for numbers that should only receive calls.

In addition, the possibility of implementing measures to block web pages used in scams is contemplated, following the example of actions against illegal download sites. These proposals, if implemented, They could mark a before and after in the fight against telephone spoofing and related scams.

These Measures are a crucial step in protecting citizens against telephone scams. However, it is important to remember that safety also depends on the awareness and caution of each individual. Being informed and alert remains the best defense against these criminals.

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