Privacy body warns vs 'smishing,' urges public to block unknown numbers

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2021 12:44 PM

MANILA - The National Privacy Commission is investigating reports of "smishing" or the unauthorized use of contact tracing details for phishing via text messages, its chief said Thursday.

The public is urged to block unknown contact numbers asking users to click on links or send sensitive personal details, said NPC commissioner Raymund Liboro.

"It’s very important for each of us, all of us here, 'pag meron tayong nakukuhang ganun. 'Wag niyo na hong i-click, i-tap. I-block niyo na ang user na 'yun na di niyo kilala. Block and report it as spam," he told ANC's Headstart.

"If they (telcos) see that a particular number is being blocked by so many users, then it raises a red flag. Then automatically, they get rid of it from their system."

Establishments only have 30 days to store a consumer's data after which it should be discarded, Liboro said.

"Last year, we summoned 22 establishments based from reports and field officers where we monitored potentially vulnerable or risky types collection of data. They have since corrected it," he said.

The NPC is ramping up its awareness campaign, monitoring local governments and have issued "so many compliance warning letters to many of them," according to Liboro.

"We’re also reminding telcos and the social media giants about their responsibilities," he said.