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Real-name registration, not enough to eliminate telecom fraud

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated : 2016-07-12

After China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a stricter mobile phone real-name registration policy, Xinhua News Agency said the policy can reduce telecommunication fraud, but is not enough to fully contain it.

The ministry requires telecom operators to apply the policy among all their users before June 30 of 2017. For users who refuse to register within the deadline, the operators have the right to cut off their service.

But Xinhua said that a real-name registration policy doesn’t work well with phone calls or messages from telephones registered abroad. Even in the case of domestic pseudo base-stations, which can make fake phone calls or leave fake messages, the policy can change nothing.

The new policy is aimed at curbing Internet fraud and other information abuses. However, illegal SIM cards, used for crime, not only lower the effectiveness of such a policy but also increase security threats to society.

That’s because SIM cards have become increasingly important in telephone money management and consumption; especially with the emergence of third-party payment platforms, telephone verification codes have turned into an important consumption and account transfer tool.

By using illegal SIM cards, people without real-name registration can easily defraud others via mobile phones. In a recent survey, almost 91.7% of users said they have received fraudulent telecom messages over the last year.

The 360 security centre, China’s largest free anti-malware security platform, said that in only a three-month period it intercepted 80.1 billion crank calls and approximately 80.1 billion junk short messages. Given this background, people have high hopes for the new policy.

Some experts say that telecom operator and financing institution supervision are also indispensable to completely stop telecom fraud.

Other experts point out that to fight fraud, we should work to eliminate the crime at its root instead of just coping with it: we need to raise people’s awareness to help them avoid them being defrauded.