SIM registration aids government in ‘arms race’ vs. scammers

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said the ongoing Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration has already given the government a significant edge in its “arms race” against unscrupulous individuals, who use new technology including artificial intelligence (AI), for scams.

“I think we are getting to the point where we have disposed of or taken out of the system many of the SIM cards that have not been registered because they have been used for illegal purposes and for these scams that we have been hearing about,” Marcos told reporters in an interview during the 85th Anniversary of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday. 

Last month, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) reported 95 million of the 169 million SIM Cards in circulation have already been registered.

After the deadline for the registration next month, all unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated. 

Despite the said gains when it comes to SIM cards, Marcos noted the government remains wary of other new technologies or schemes that scammers can use to victimize more people.

“It is really an arms race. Every defense or every capability that we develop to block or to catch or to nullify these kinds of transactions, of course they come up with new technology, they come up with new techniques,” Marcos said.

He noted a significant tool against such scams is still old-fashioned information campaigns.

“There is no such thing as 100 percent risk-free. There is no way to guarantee these enormous returns on what they are claiming, on the money that you put, that you give them,” Marcos said.

“If the public is aware and knows and is able to spot because of the way that these scams are presented, then that is the best defense that we have,” he added. 

The President made the statement when asked how the government is protecting the public against abusive online lenders and investment scammers.

Image credits: Petr Kratochvil