Watch out for SMS phishing, Gatchalian tells public, gov't

Published June 25, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday, June 25, appealed to concerned agencies to be on the lookout for new mobile and online shopping scams.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN File Photo/Senate of the Philippines)

Gatchalian said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) must intensify their efforts against deceptive transactions.

“Scammers, owing to the technological advances that are evolving at a fast pace these past few years, have become more innovative in carrying out their nefarious activities. Our laws should also keep up with the times and be responsive to the needs and concerns of the public,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

The senator was reacting to reports of what he called the “SMSishing” or short message service (SMS) phishing, wherein receivers are duped into sending money through the use of a credit card.

Under the scheme, would-be victims would be sent a message informing them that they won a prize from an online shopping platforms. They would be directed to claim the prize through a link. So they would be “eligible” for the prize, individuals would have to pay a certain amount of money.

A victim of hacking himself, Gatchalian said “this strengthens the need to pursue legislation mandating the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the country.”

Gatchalian earlier filed Senate Bill No. 176, which proposes the registration of all users of pre-paid SIM cards. He maintained that authorities could track down the culprits behind the scam if the mobile numbers used are traced through the SIM card.

“Ginagawa na ito ng maraming bansa katulad ng Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei at iba pa at napatunayan nila na mainam itong regulasyon sa pagkakaroon ng database o registry ng may-ari ng numero (This is already being done in other countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and they proved have a registry of mobile phone numbers is an effective tool for regulation),” he said.

“Nananawagan din ako sa publiko na maging alerto at mapanuri sa ganitong klase ng mga panloloko at ireport agad sa mga awtoridad (I also appeal to the public to be alert and vigilant for such kinds of schemes and report them immediately to authorities),“ the lawmaker stressed.