NPC opens probe into job, investment offers via text


The National Privacy Commission (NPC) announced on Monday that it has ordered three telecommunications companies, a bank, and a payment channel to submit reports on data flows and transactions involving data aggregators.

This after the NPC formally launched its investigation on companies’ due diligence and accountability in transacting with data aggregators linked to the sending of texts offering jobs and investment schemes to millions of Filipinos in recent months.

NPC ordered Globe Telecom Inc., Smart Communications Inc., Dito Telecommunity Corp., Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc., and Mynt-Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. to submit within five days documents and information on the specifics of their data handling particularly with data aggregators.

NPC also said it has formed a group against ICT-enabled scams and fraud just last week. The group consists of the NPC, Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), Department of Information and Communications Technology, National Telecommunications Commission, and Department of Justice.

Also included are the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Security Council and Anti-Money Laundering Council.

The group aims to combat smishing and text spams that have cost a number of Filipinos money.

The group will be headed by CICC and will serve as a hub that will receive complaints from cellular phone subscribers and will be tasked with forwarding the numbers used by scammers to telcos for blocking.  

Smart Communications has already blocked at least 60 web domains while Globe Telecom has blocked over 1 million messages since January.

The PLDT Group on Sunday said it has intensified its fraud protection and mechanisms by four times, claiming to “outpace perpetrators by aggressively blocking malicious domains and activating filtering systems that weed out spam messages.”

Angel T. Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart, said the group has blocked 19,000 mobile numbers in November that are found to have been linked to a “global syndicate” that has been scamming Filipinos for the past few weeks.

Aside from this, the group has also blocked 5,693 user access to these sites and uncovered over 100 domains which are directly related and involved in the ongoing text spam scam.

“The cybercriminals have mischievously capitalized the high unemployment rate in this pandemic to make money. To avoid falling victims of financial loss, we urge the public to delete, block, and not click such too-good-to-be-true job offers,” Redoble said in a statement.

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