Information about SIM cards registered with citizens may appear on the Gosuslugi portal, Kommersant learned. According to the idea of the Ministry of Digital Development, as a result, each user in their personal account will be able to check whether their old number is being used for fraudulent purposes and whether new numbers have been issued using their passport data. The initiative is designed to help combat telephone fraud. But market participants call the mechanism redundant.
The Ministry of Digital Development proposes to create a section on the State Services portal about which SIM cards are registered for each citizen, interlocutors in the telecom market told Kommersant. The information will be available only in personal accounts, one of them clarifies. Currently, only telecom operators have this data.
The initiative should help citizens track the use of their phone numbers for fraudulent purposes, says a Kommersant source familiar with the project. “Having seen a number in the State Services system that is not in use or that was issued illegally, the subscriber will be able to block it,” he explains. The Ministry of Digital Development did not comment on the situation.
According to current legislation, a subscriber can block a SIM card in the operator’s personal account, by calling him or visiting a communication store. According to the Law “On Communications”, the operator is obliged to verify the accuracy of information about the subscriber even before the provision of services, including data about end users if the SIM card is issued to legal entities and small businesses. Since 2021, the Gosuslugi portal will also provide confirmation of data about the user of corporate SIM cards.
VimpelCom clients can request blocking in any way, the company assured: visit the sales office, write in the mobile app chat or on social networks, call the call center, give your full name and answer a number of questions so that the company can verify that that he really is the owner of the number.
Tele2 supports initiatives that “help improve the customer journey and whiten the mobile communications market.” They consider it possible to implement the information part of the Ministry of Digital Development’s idea, but emphasize that “special attention to the security of customer databases” will be required. Managing a number through Gosuslugi “requires deeper technical expertise,” Tele2 clarified. MTS emphasized that the law already requires operators to provide subscribers with information about SIM cards issued to them, so “it is necessary to study the technical parameters of the new solution.” “We believe that the collection of information on State Services is redundant; in any case, it should be provided by the operator itself and not collected on other resources, otherwise this could give attackers an additional tool,” MTS believes. MegaFon declined to comment.
Fraud using spoofed numbers remains one of the most common methods of theft of funds in Russia. In 2023, the number of telephone fraud attempts against Russians reached 8.6 million per day, compared to 5 million in 2022 (see Kommersant on June 14). To prevent telephone fraud in Russia, a unified platform for verifying telephone calls “Antifraud” of Roskomnadzor has been tested since January. In November, some telecom operators already began receiving notifications of fines for violating the terms of integration with the system (see Kommersant on November 15).
The initiative of the Ministry of Digital Development assumes full integration of State Services with the data of all mobile operators, and in order to transfer them in real time, it will be necessary to additionally ensure the stable operation of the portal, says Georgy Banchikov, CEO of Ingry.Tech. Such an initiative, in his opinion, could be a good help in reducing the overall amount of fraud, but is unlikely to completely eradicate the problem.
Kommersant’s interlocutor in the cybersecurity market believes that a more effective way to combat fraud would be to oblige operators to build an internal control system and revoke the licenses of those who are unable to organize work safely. The new initiative, he believes, could lead to “shifting responsibility” for the illegal use of SIM cards onto citizens.