Smart says mounting 'all-out' info campaign vs text and cyber fraud

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2021 04:15 PM | Updated as of Nov 24 2021 05:53 PM

MANILA - Smart Communications on Wednesday said it has launched an "all-out" information campaign against suspicious text messages and new forms of cyber fraud.

PLDT's wireless unit said its goal is to encourage mobile number users to be vigilant and to avoid engaging in links contained in SMS scams.

“The recent SMS spamming activities are specific to job hiring. If mobile users open the link from any of these scam text messages, they will be redirected to the WhatsApp platform, in which they will be offered an attractive salary package, ranging from P500 to P10,000,” said PLDT and Smart’s chief information security officer Angel Redoble.
 
Victims were misled to provide personal information and lured to deposit cash in what they first believed were job offers.

The public is advised to avoid engaging in SMS spam links, Redoble said. 

“This is not just a spray and pray operation. It’s well-organized, targeted, and is apparent in other countries as well,” he added.

Smart said its Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) has also identified processes behind the surge in unsolicited messages.

The CSOG protects customers by flagging mobile numbers, domains and IP addresses that the system finds "threatening," the telco said.

E-commerce platform Lazada earlier reminded the public to transact through its official channels. Its name is among those being used by fraudsters to offer job opportunities through SMS spam.

The National Privacy Commission also noted that given the scale of the operations, those behind the SMS spams could be a global organized syndicate.

Meanwhile, FinTech Alliance.PH agreed that awareness campaigns "must be heightened" to protect vulnerable Filipinos. The group also called for investigations as to how cyber criminals obtained mobile numbers.

"The FinTech Alliance has alerted and enjoined all its members, and the industry as a whole, to ensure that their respective customers are well informed and protected against various scams," FinTech Alliance.ph chairman Lito Villanueva said. 

"We remain one with government authorities in promoting consumer protection and in further advocating financial education," he added.

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