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Collective efforts on to stem hoax call menace

BY Rokiah Mahmud

THE Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and the two leading telecommunication service providers in the country – Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) and DST – said Thursday that they will continue to monitor and investigate hoax phone calls received by subscribers in the country, assuring that the telecom companies are striving together to address the issue.

Some of these calls are coming from overseas while some are originating in Brunei Darussalam itself.

“The hoax calls have raised concerns over the safety of call recipients, who find themselves confronted by unknown phone numbers that, when answered, may or may not speak in a language that is familiar with the aim to deceive unsuspecting victims,” TelBru said in a press statement.

“The persistence of these phone calls has made social media news over the past week with many airing their grievances over the inconvenience stemming from such hoax calls. Though Bruneians are generally aware of the risks that they may face if they choose to proceed with such calls, TelBru will continue to implement measures to better protect Bruneian public and is working with relevant authorities to better mitigate this issue.

“Not limited to Brunei, these calls are currently trending worldwide with the likes of the United States, Australia, Canada and other countries in Southeast Asia facing similar concerns with reported cases of those who have, regrettably, fallen victim to such an elaborate hoax,” the statement added.

As part of the efforts to protect consumer interests, TelBru urged members of the public to practise caution when answering these calls and immediately disconnect if any suspicion arises.

The company also urged them to refrain from divulging personal information of sensitive nature such as identification numbers (IC), bank account numbers, passwords to devices and home address to strangers including those who claim to represent certain companies.

These tactics also include requesting network access to an individual’s personal computer. As part of TelBru’s security protocols, its representatives are barred from acquiring such information over the telephone, the company said.

Meanwhile in another statement, DST said, “Many individuals in Brunei are currently being affected by an international hoax phone call scam originating from various operators, masked as genuine local numbers, some of which are active numbers.

“When subscribers answer these calls, there is an automated message from a pre-recorded voice speaking in Chinese. In such a situation, DST’s active subscribers are either affected by receiving calls, or their numbers are being used by phone scammers to call other subscribers without their knowledge. We are not alone as many other operators around the world are facing the same issue.”

The telecom provider added that it has been working around the clock to address these issues to prevent such incidents.

Sharing some ways to counter the situation, DST said, “Subscribers can choose to reject a call and await a response via SMS or text from the caller. If a call is answered and it is a spam call, hang up immediately. Do not call back a number which you suspect is a spam call. Never provide important information to these scammers upon request. By using these methods, you can better protect your information from these hackers.”

DST thanked its subscribers for assisting it in this investigation by providing updates on numbers being affected.

In a separate statement, AITI advised members of the public to alert their respective telecommunication service provider should they receive any suspicious calls. The customer care help lines are DSTCare 151, Progresif Customer Care 177 and TelBru Customer Care 111.

“Customers need to be extra cautious when answering calls from unfamiliar local or international numbers. If any subscribers have given their personal details to what they believe is a hoax call, they should contact the Royal Brunei Police Force to lodge an official report,” AITI added.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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