Dutch gov't to tackle SMS phishing scams

A phishing SMS made to look as if it was sent by ABN Amro
A phishing SMS made to look as if it was sent by ABN AmroPhoto: NL Times

The government wants to change the Netherlands' telecom law to make it easier for the Dutch authority on consumers and markets ACM to tackle the "growing problem" of phishing scams via SMS, a spokesperson for State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs confirmed to NU.nl after a report in RTL Nieuws.

Phishing via SMS involves messages made to look like they came from your bank, through which scammers try to steal their victims' online banking login details. An additional risk in this form of fraud is that scammers often use "spoofing" - a method that makes it seem as if the sender is actually the bank and which can result in phishing messages ending up between legitimate messages.

The current telecom law already bans spoofing, but it is difficult for the ACM to enforce, Keijzer's spokesperson Harald Hanemaaijer said to NU.nl. Under the current law, the ACM can go after telephone numbers used for fraud, but not after the fraudster that uses the bank's name.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is now investigating how the law can be amended to address this problem. The aim is to have a bill ready by 2020. The Ministry will also talk to the telecom industry to see if providers can play a role in tackling SMS phishing.