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Telephone Scams Becoming Prevalent

Posted January. 05, 2007 07:18,   


The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) is struggling with a growing phone scam.

The Ministry has no legal grounds for regulating scammers’ misuse of the Auto Calling System (ACS) and Caller Identification (CID).

According to the Ministry and Police, there were about seven hundred cases of phone fraud between the year 2005 and late December 2006, and the damages amounted to 4 billion won.

Con artists call randomly using ACS and play fake recorded messages from government offices.

One of them played a message saying, “This is a call from XX court. We want to inform you of the date of the second trial as you did not attend the first one. Press 9 if you want to know details.” After pressing the button, the receiver heard, “For your trial information, you need to tell your name, resident registration number and numbers of your bank account and credit card.”

Though people think the message came from state-run bodies and provide their personal information, leading to financial losses, there is no legal protection against ACS and CID distortion.

An official from the Ministry said, “If registered as a telecom company, anyone can buy ACS device. In fact, it is impossible to regulate the use of devices once they are sold.”

Worse yet, there is no law banning the use of telephone lines when they are used by individuals, not by telecom operators. And there are no regulations on CID manipulation skills.

Though the National Assembly is considering electronic and telecommunication revision laws banning CID manipulation for fraud, verbal abuse, threat, harassment purposes, it is not clear when the revision will be passed. Therefore, predators are emboldened and are continuing their behavior until arrested by police.

Recently, international con artists have appeared, deceiving people in other countries such as China. Their fraud even included asking for ransom, deceiving people by saying that, ‘Your child is kidnapped.’

Officials from the Ministry said,” It is not easy for the law enforcement authorities to prevent such fraud in principle and technical terms considering the freedom of telecommunications law and user benefits. However, the ministry is making efforts to revise laws to prevent illegal activities such as CID manipulation.”