‘Epidemic of scams:’ Solon presses privacy body to crackdown on SMS text fraudsters


The National Privacy Commission (NPC) was pressed Monday to mount a crackdown amid rising cases of “budol text scams” perpetrated under the guise of offering jobs using dubious advertisements.

Sen. Joel Villanueva prodded the commission to go after the perpetrators of the “epidemic of text scams,” particularly the kind in
which cell phone numbers are barraged with job ads or offers.

Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, cited reports reaching his office that social media has been flooded with complaints
of duped citizens who have been “bombarded with job offers or sales work that promises huge commissions.”

Describing the text scam as “the new budol in town,” Villanueva noted that apparently “robo texts are being blasted to be the forbidden
fruit of a data breach or data sale somewhere.”

The senator suggested to the privacy commission to coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission to work out “how this illegal and irritating intrusion into one’s privacy can be stopped.”

In a news statement, he described the so-called robo texts as “a variant of fake news, which many people can fall for.”

Villanueva voiced concerns that “in a nation where unemployment and digital disinformation are high, these kinds of messages can mislead many.”

“Maraming kababayan po natin, lalo na ang mga naghahanap ng trabaho ang ma-si-swindle nito,” the lawmaker warned.

At the same time, the senator asked concerned government agencies and telecommunications firms to “work together in preventing citizens from being victimized by smishing,” a form of text message phishing, where criminals lure consumers into giving away personal or financial

Villanueva  reminded that the so-called budol text scam “falls well within the area of consumer protection that is the task of government
authorities concerned.”

The senator added that “text offers on overseas jobs violate laws in labor placement, an activity that is tightly regulated by the government to shield job seekers from being victimized by illegal recruiters.”

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