Smart says 'organized global syndicate' could be behind SMS spam


Posted at Nov 23 2021 12:32 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2021 01:42 PM

MANILA - Smart Communications has been blocking mobile numbers as well as IP addresses linked to the recent surge in SMS-based scams which could be originating from "an organized global syndicate," an official said Tuesday.

So far, the wireless arm of PLDT has been blocking up to 500 mobile numbers daily while some 40 domains and IP addresses have also been blocked, PLDT and Smart Chief Information and Security Officer Angel T. Redoble said in a statement. 

Blocking just the mobile numbers is not enough, Rodoble added.

“We protect our customers and block these suspicious accounts on several layers. We block fraudulent accounts based on mobile numbers associated with fraud. But since mobile numbers may be easily replaced, we also block on the domain and IP address levels, as soon as we have evidence that a specific domain is used as a platform by scammers,” he said. 

“In fact we have identified and blocked about 40 domains and IP addresses involved in this scam, which leads us to believe that this is a huge and sophisticated scam by an organized global syndicate," he added.

Mobile users have recently reported a surge in SMS spam which mostly aims to recruit for alleged high-paying jobs. 

These SMS, however, contain links that lead to "an elaborate online phishing scam" where users end up becoming victims of fraud, Smart said.

To protect themselves, mobile users are encouraged to observe the following:

• Do not entertain questions or surveys from unknown senders 
• Never provide personal information to strangers
• Use SMS blocking feature 

Users who received suspicious and unsolicited SMS should report scammers and their numbers to the NTC complaint section.

Once proven fraudulent, Smart may cut the number based on the advice by the NTC, it said. 

Smart said it also fully supports the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the National Privacy Commission (NPC), and the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) move to investigate and curb the spread of SMS spam-based scam.

“We are one with the NTC, the NPC, and the DTI and the rest of the concerned government agencies in protecting our customers from this scam developed by unscrupulous individuals," PLDT and Smart President and CEO Al Panlilio.
Its rival Globe Telecom earlier said it was also beefing up its initiative to curb the spread of SMS-based spam.


Watch more on iWantTFC