January 19, 2021

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Singapore Government launches mobile app to identify and block scam calls and messages

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on Friday launched a mobile application that can identify and block scam messages and phone calls.

The National Crime Prevention Council’s Year-End Crime Prevention Campaign was held virtually on 20 November 2020 whereby the NCPC unveiled the new mobile application – ScamShield. ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.

The app uses artificial intelligence to identify keywords in messages from unknown contacts, these messages will be moved into a junk folder created on your phone by the app, just like what email inboxes do.

ScamShield has been jointly developed with the National Crime Prevention Council and Government Technology Agency, is available only on iOS devices and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for free.

The app blocks calls from a database of blocked numbers, managed centrally by the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force (SPF). Users can report scam messages and calls through the app, which will be added to the database and shared with the police. The council added that ScamShield does not have access to the user’s contact list, location or personal data. The app does not require users to register with their mobile numbers either.

Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, was a special guest at the virtual event on Friday and said that the number of scam cases has been on the rise and asked people to be vigilant when giving personal information to anyone.

ScamShield is easy to deploy in 3 simple steps and has many security features.

Download from App Store

Search for Scamshield on the App Store or click on this link. Do not download applications that are not from the official Apple Store.

Block known scam callers

ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Phone
  • Tap Call Blocking & Identification
  • Enable Scamshield

Filter Scam SMSes

When you receive an SMS from an unknown contact, ScamShield will determine if the SMS is a scam using an on-device algorithm, and filter the messages to a junk SMS folder. Scam SMSes will be sent to NCPC and SPF for collation. This keeps the app updated and will help protect others from such scam calls and messages. To Enable auto spam SMS filter:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Messages
  • Tap Unknown & Spam
  • Enable Scamshield

Report Scam Messages

You can also report scam messages from other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Wechat, IMO, Viber, etc. You can forward the messages via ScamShield’s in-app reporting function. The Council have also said that the app will be available soon for Android users once some issues have been resolved.

Photo Credit: www.scamshield.sg