SIM card listing pushed amid text scam surge


A consumer group is calling for the immediate passage of SIM (subscriber identity module) Card Registration bill amid the recent surge of text scam messages.

Laban Konsyumer President Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba told the BusinessMirror that the proposed measure will address fraud and deceptive sales practices.

Dimagiba explained that “most of the scam and spam are from prepaid SIM cards” with no identity to be linked with the fraudsters.

“This is also a strong deterrent against [fraudulent] criminal activity. Congress should be faulted for dragging its feet,” he said.

“An Act to Eradicate Mobile Phone-aided Terrorism and Criminal Activities, Mandating for this Purpose Ownership Registration of All SIM Cards for Cellular Phones” or the “SIM Card Registration Act” is pending second reading in the Senate.

The bill requires public telecommunication entities (PTE) to register the SIM cards as a prerequisite for their sale to avoid text scams, bank frauds and other related SIM card-aided crimes.

The existing SIM card subscribers with active services, meanwhile, are enjoined to register with their PTEs within the year of the measure’s effectivity. Non-registration during the prescribed period is a ground for SIM card deactivation.

“The registration form required under this Act shall be accomplished electronically and shall be forwarded by the concerned PTE to a centralized database accessible by the NTC [National Telecommunications Commission] and DICT [Department of Information and Communications Technology],” Senate Bill 2395 noted.

On Tuesday, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) revealed that their probe on the recent surge of spam text messages offering fake and “too good to be true” job opportunities points to an organized global syndicate.

If proven true, Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said “this also becomes a matter of national security, which should compel government, the private sector and advocacy groups to work hand in hand and take more urgent and concrete action to safeguard.”

He explained that the scammers’ modus operandi involves the offering of jobs to promote products online. The catch is: targeted victims must pay initially a fee before getting their commission afterwards, Liboro said.

The NPC chief said that victims will only realize later that they have deposited a significant amount of money already to the bank account of the scammers, who will suddenly disappear with all the money.

Other messages offer passive income opportunities and high-paying jobs, he added.

Liboro advised the public to block the sender and delete the messages. In addition, he said that the public must be vigilant when providing consent of access to their personal information as it can be illegally processed.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, e-commerce platform Lazada warned against the text scams, saying it will never send messages to the public asking for personal information.

“These scams attempt to pass themselves off as official Lazada communication or impersonate Lazada personnel, enticing customers to participate in fake promotions or raffles or respond to job opportunities,” it explained.

As such, Lazada reminded its users to only communicate or transact with Lazada using official platforms.

The e-commerce firm said they are working with telecommunications partners and local law enforcement agencies to crack down on these scams.

“Our customers’ security is our top priority,” it said. “Meanwhile, let us all stay vigilant and continue to flag such incidents.” Chairman Angelito M. Villanueva, in an interview with the BusinessMirror, said the recent incident involving the surge of smishing activities calls for furthering the awareness campaign on such types of scams.

“This also raises the question as to how customer mobile numbers have reached the hands of these scammers and how possible security gaps may be addressed,” he said.

Villanueva said that the business group has alerted its members regarding the issue, enjoining them in informing and protecting their customers against these scams.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

Leave a Reply