CRTC launches new protections against fraudlent Calls

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Dec. 20, 2018 (Courtesy of NationalPost.com) – Canadians will soon have greater protection from scam phone calls.

Today, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruled that service providers must apply additional levels of protection to shield Canadians from fraudulent and unsolicited calls.

New technologies make it faster and easier to falsify caller ID information and make calls over the Internet. As a result, scam calls are on the rise. Overall, Canadians lost more than $1.5 million to scams in the first half of 2018 alone, more than all of 2017, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“It’s getting to the point where it is very cheap to make millions of calls,” said John Lawford, Executive Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. “This is one of the only ways to fight back. It’s a modern tool for a modern problem.”

These new protection systems will block calls with caller ID that exceed 15 digits, or numbers that cannot be dialled (not in the 000-000-0000 format). Providers must implement these systems by Dec. 19, 2019. Those who offer their subscribers more advanced call-filtering services will not have this obligation.

While some of these calls are simply for marketing purposes, some of them are more nefarious.

Thousands of Canadians have fallen victim to the Canadian Revenue Agency scam call, which threatens arrest over unpaid taxes. In total, over 4,000 people have reported losses of over $15.2 million, according to the RCMP. Subsequent efforts to crack down on the CRA scams have resulted in the busting of three call centres in India.