Smart aids law enforcers amid worsening text scams

SMART Communications, Inc. said on Wednesday that it is working with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the coordinating council of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to track down the people behind text scams.

From June to August, Smart said that it had blocked a total of 167,000 numbers that were identified or have a connection to fraud activities, while it had also blocked around 342 million “smishing” messages in the same period.

“We are supporting government-led efforts to identify the scammers and to pin down where they’re getting the SIMs that they’re using to run their modus,” PLDT, Inc. and Smart’s First Vice-President and Chief Information Security Officer Angel T. Redoble said in a media release.

Mr. Redoble said that Smart is investigating suspicious subscriber identity module (SIM) card purchases that might be related to illegal activities.

“Our initial investigation has shown that the fraudulent messages are being sent phone-to-phone. They don’t pass through aggregators. Most likely, the perpetrators have bought the SIMs in bulk. But through our blocking efforts, we are making it expensive for them to use this method,” Mr. Redoble said.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has directed telecommunication companies to block or deactivate domains and uniform resource locators (URLs) in text messages, amid worsening text scams.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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