Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has cautioned Filipinos on a recently discovered GCash scam ahead of the start of SIM card registration on Dec. 27.
Gatchalian cited a fraudulent email apparently coming from GCash Promotions advising recipients that their transactions have been restricted and to reinstate the said feature, recipients have to pre-register by simply clicking a link, a process that could potentially compromise their online security. This has been confirmed by the GCash Team as a scam.
SIM stands for subscriber identity module. It is used on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
“Ipinaglaban natin ang pagsasabatas ng SIM registration sa nakalipas na maraming taon dahil gusto nating protektahan ang mga gumagamit ng SIM laban sa panloloko ng cyber criminals (We fought for SIM registration enactment in past years because we want SIM users to be protected from cyber criminals)," Gatchalian said.
"Kailangan nating abisuhan ang ating mga kababayan na mag-ingat nang husto laban sa mga sari-saring pambibiktima ng mga kawatan (We need to warn our countrymen to be careful against these fraudsters' various schemes)," he added.
GCash is a popular e-wallet maintained by one of the country’s major telecommunications companies.
Starting Dec. 27 this year, SIM users need to register their SIMs within 180 days or six months, or else have their SIM cards deactivated from their respective service providers.
A co-author of Republic Act (RA) 11934, or the SIM Registration Act, Gatchalian also urged SIM users to register their respective SIMs as soon as possible, emphasizing that doing so would enable authorities to track criminal-minded individuals who take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
Gatchalian also said the law includes provisions that would ensure the protection of customers’ personal information.
“Identity theft is precisely one of the online schemes that we want to prevent relative to the enactment of the SIM registration law. The process for the disclosure of personal information is a rigid one that necessitates a court order,” he emphasized.
Gatchalian said SIM users need to make sure that they register only through a secure platform or website provided by their respective service providers. The process of registration requires the following information including full name, date of birth, gender, address, and valid government ID or similar documents with a photo, while business users must provide their business name, business address, and the full name of an authorized signatory.