Obligations of the Regulation come into effect - up to 200,000 scam calls are prevented per day
The spoofing of Finnish phone numbers has finally come to an end in practice after the prevention obligations came into full effect. Thanks to the prevention of scam calls from fixed numbers, which was introduced in the summer of 2022, the number of technical support scam calls collapsed. The prevention of spoofing mobile phone numbers has been in operation for two weeks now, and the arrangement has prevented up to more than 200,000 scam calls per day.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom adopted on May 2022 an updated version of its Regulation 28. It imposes new obligations on telecommunications operators to prevent caller ID spoofing and the transfer of scam calls to recipients. The objective of the update is to prevent the use of Finnish telephone numbers in international cybercrime and to reduce the number of scam calls from abroad. The obligations become applicable gradually: to telephone numbers in fixed networks from 1 July 2022 and to numbers in mobile networks from 2 October 2023.
In recent years, number spoofing in calls from abroad has been a major problem in Finland. The purpose of the scam calls has been, among other things, to trick the recipient of the call into giving the scammer remote access to the recipient's computer (technical support scam call) or to give their online banking credentials to the scammer. According to an earlier estimate by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), people in Finland have already lost 7.1 million euros to fraudsters in technical support call scams in 2020 and 2021. In addition to the direct criminal benefit, the spoofing of Finnish mobile phone numbers, which became even more common last summer, has caused significant harm to users whose own number has been used for scam calls.
The measures, which have been valid for two weeks, have proven to be functional and effective
The spoofing of Finnish phone numbers has finally come to an end in practice after the scam call prevention obligations came into full effect. "Thanks to the blocking of scam calls made from landline numbers that was implemented in the summer of 2022, scam calls from technical support collapsed and after the prevention, Finns lost only 600 euros in calls to technical support in 2022," Klaus Nieminen, the Chief Specialist at Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
"The prevention of spoofing mobile phone numbers has been in operation for two weeks now and on several days the arrangement has prevented up to more than 200,000 scam calls per day. The amount can be related to the fact that, on average, about 60 percent of the calls made from abroad to Finland using a Finnish mobile phone number have been fake in the last two weeks. It can be said that the obligations have worked with excellent results," Nieminen summarises.
However, the scam attempts will not end
According to Lauri Isotalo, Development Manager of National Cyber Security Centre Finland at Traficom, it is still worth being prepared for scams. Criminals do find new ways, and criminals can still make scam calls from foreign numbers, for example from country codes beginning with +29 that resemble the 0295 number series used by the authorities, or by blocking the number display itself, in which case the call appears to be coming from an unknown number, says Isotalo.
Of course, it is also possible to use real Finnish telephone subscriptions criminally, but in these situations the means of intervention by operators and authorities are significantly better than in the case of calls coming from abroad.
Klaus Nieminen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 (0)29 539 0528
Lauri Isotalo, Development Manager, tel. +358 (0)29 539 0668 (absent 16 October 2023 to 22 October 2023)
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom email addresses are of the format firstname.lastname@example.org (External link)