NTC: Only live selfies allowed in sim card registration

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2023 08:45 PM

Sen. Grace Poe has revealed during the budget hearing of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and attached agencies that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) released a memorandum prohibiting the use of stock photos to register sim cards, and only live selfies will be allowed. 

This after NTC met with other government and law enforcement agencies and telecommunications companies.

Poe added a flagging system will also be implemented to put an end to those who are using fictitious photos. 

Telcos are tasked to review the data of those who have already registered their sims. 

"For those that have already registered, telcos shall prioritize for post-validation those that have been flagged as suspicious, such as individuals who registered more than 5 sims or entities who registered more than 100 sims. Those whose names are with random use of letters or characters and those flagged by telcos as suspiciously engaged in text scams, spams, among others," Poe said.

"If the telco discovers that among others the registrants' information or data do not match, the information, the ID presented or the ID or document submitted are fictitious, then it shall notify the registrant that an immediate barring, temporary deactivation shall be implemented," she added.

The NTC confirmed the memo was released on Sep. 18.

"The memorandum order was issued after consultation with these agencies and stakeholders so they also provided their inputs to address the issue," explained NTC Commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez.

The DICT said it is boosting its electronic know your customer (eKYC) program to fight scammers. 

"The eKYC was launched 5 months ago, so live na po itong system na ito. There was a transfer of responsibility, in terms of the digital integration of the national ID. Connected na po ito sa eKYC natin. Around 90 million registrants. So the eKYC will solve actually the sim card registation... It will validate if you have that data," said DICT Usec. David Almirol Jr.

"This eKYC na dinevelop po ng DICT, it will solve not only po iyong sim card registration, one time big time solution po ito. Pati iyong mga pekeng diploma, iyong mga pekeng driver's license. Pag nilagay mo iyong first name, last name, middle name, birthday mo at nag-live check ka, pag nag-pretend ka na ikaw ay ibang tao... hindi gagana. The AI technology is really very capable in identifying fraud activites," he added.

DICT had this advice to the public to avoid scammers: 

"Ang number 1 po palaging signal diyan, minamadali kang gumawa ng desisyon. Sasabihin niya na na-hack ang account mo, kailangan mo na mag-click ngayon, huwag ka na maghintay ng ilang minuto. Palagi ka niyang ninu-nudge into a behavior na magmadali ka. Kasi kapag nag-isip ka po kahit isang oras, magdadalawang isip ka na na i-click. So ang number 1 advice po, pag minamadali kayo, naga-appeal sa, alam niyo namang nagpadala sa inyo. Pero sabi may padala ka daw or umaapela sa emosyon, unang-una huwag kayo mag-click sa pinadala sa inyo. Kung bangko allegedly ang kumontak, huwag niyo po i-click iyong pinadala sa inyo. Pumunta ka po doon sa alam mong legitimate na site ng bangko mo," said DICT Usec. Jeffrey Ian Dy. 

"Number 2, meron po kaming acronym, BIRD, so you block, you ignore, you report, and then you delete the message. Huwag din po kayong sasagot. Kasi sometimes, that is also a way of enticing you to engage further. Kasi depende sa magiging reaksyon mo, kukunin niya iyong behavior mo para ma-hook ka," he added.

Senators and DICT officials held an executive session to discuss some security concerns, as well as their requested confidential funds.