Global syndicate likely behind SMS spam phishing scheme, says NPC


Posted at Nov 23 2021 01:19 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2021 04:34 PM

MANILA - A global organized syndicate could be behind the recent surge in SMS-based phishing scams, Commissioner Raymund Liboro of the National Privacy Commission said Tuesday. 

Based on initial investigations, thousands of Filipinos have been receiving SMS spams signaling that a huge chunk of mobile numbers was illegally obtained, Liboro said in a Palace briefing. 

Given the scale, it is unlikely that the numbers were obtained from contact tracing forms, he said.

"Ito ay isang international global na sindikato ang gumagawa nito at gumagamit ng mga numero na nakuha nila sa ibang paraan, malalaking database po na ginagamit nila dito," Liboro said,

(An international global syndicate is doing this, using mobile numbers obtained in a different way. They are using a big database)

"Maaring nanggaling sa mga dating na-breach o na-hack. Ginagalugad na rin natin ang dark web para malaman kung merong nag-trade ng numbers ng mga Pilipino dyan," he added.

(It could be from previous data breaches or hacking. We are searching the dark web to see if Filipino numbers are being traded there) 

Meanwhile, the NPC has advised those that collect personal information, such as in contact tracing, to ensure data are protected. 

Users should also refrain from engaging in messages that are "too good to be true," Liboro said. In addition, Filipinos should be vigilant when allowing access to personal information found in many online forms, he said. 

The NPC earlier said it had also summoned the country's telco providers to discuss the proliferation of SMS spam.

Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have said they have been blocking the numbers used to send phishing messages.

Liboro said they are also working with the Commission on Elections in drafting guidelines in the use of personal information during the election season. 

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