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Vigilance needed on emergence of new phishing scam

Senator Win Gatchalian called on all concerned agencies to be more vigilant on the emergence of new mobile and online shopping scams and intensify the campaign against deceptive and sham transactions.


PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senator Win Gatchalian during his privilege speech at the Senate. Gatchalian called on all concerned agencies to be more vigilant on the emergence of new mobile and online shopping scams. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The senator made the call to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) after reports of a new form of SMSishing or short message service (SMS) phishing is said to be duping receivers into sending money through the use of a credit card. This strengthens the need to pursue legislation mandating the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the country, Gatchalian said.

“Scammers, owing to the technological advances that are evolving at a fast pace these past few years, have become more innovative in carrying out their nefarious activities. Our laws should also keep up with the times and be responsive to the needs and concerns of the public,” the Vice Chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee said.

Gatchalian was reacting to reports on the spoofing of the official Lazada SMS account to trick victims into sending money which was recently uncovered. An online news article reported that a would-be victim almost fell prey to such a scheme after receiving a message informing him of a prize that he had won along with a one-time pin (OTP) and was directed to claim the prize through a link or URL. Here’s the catch – to make him eligible for the prize, a certain amount of money is supposed to be paid. Good thing, an inquiry with Lazada led him to discover that it was a scam.

Just like the email phishing, scammers would send text messages and the receiver of the message will be asked to click a particular link where personal information may be gathered.

Gatchalian, author of Senate Bill No. 176 which proposes the registration of all users of pre-paid SIM cards, expressed belief that authorities could track down the culprits behind the scam if the mobile numbers used are traced through the SIM card.

“Kung gusto nating masawata ang mga ganitong klaseng iligal na gawain, simulan natin sa pag-aatas ng pagrerehistro ng mga prepaid SIM card sa bansa. Ginagawa na ito ng maraming bansa katulad ng Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei at iba pa at napatunayan nila na mainam itong regulasyon sa pagkakaroon ng database o registry ng may-ari ng numero,” he said.

“Nananawagan din ako sa publiko na maging alerto at mapanuri sa ganitong klase ng mga panloloko at ireport agad sa mga awtoridad,“ the senator added.