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Finland Sets Up ID System to Thwart SMS Scammers

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency and telecom firms have developed a system aimed at preventing one form of SMS-based scams.

Earlier this month the agency, Traficom, rolled out a regulation allowing companies to prevent their brand names from being spoofed by others.

Scammers are known to send text messages that appear to come from companies like the postal service Posti for example, in hopes of fooling people into offering their personal information or banking details.

However, since 9 November when the new system started, the identification protection arrangement ensures that only one entity can send messages using that ID.

The new system was developed last year, according to Traficom development chief, Lauri Isotalo.

“We carefully studied different technical and operating models in other countries. We learned something from them,” Isotalo said, noting that similar ID systems have seen real-world use in Singapore, the UK and other countries.

Posti’s security chief, Heikki Horn, said that the postal services firm will use the new ID tool as soon as possible.

“This is a very good effort by the authorities,” he said.

According to Traficom estimates, victims have lost around 10 million euros to SMS-based scams. For example, S-Bank customers were bilked out of around 2.4 million euros in a text message scheme. Some of the victims were able to claw back their money.

Scammers are known to spoof the name of other companies and organisations, including delivery companies, banks, home appliance outlets and the Tax Administration.

Source : YLE

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