Smart Communications has blocked around 342 million smishing messages from June to August 2022. The telco has also blocked 167,000 numbers that were found to have been used in fraudulent activities in the same time frame
The staggering number shows how huge the problem of smishing and text scams are right now in the Philippines.
For their part, Smart is working closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Council of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to put a stop to text scams.
“We are supporting government-led efforts to identify the scammers and to pin down where they’re getting the SIMs that they’re using to run their modus,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart.
On its own, Smart is investigating suspicious SIM purchases in bulk that might be related to the illegal activity. It was revealed that the fraudulent messages are being sent from phone-to-phone, and not through aggregators, meaning cybercriminals are using multiple SIMs for text scams. It was previously mentioned that names used in these scams were harvested from e-wallet and messaging apps.
Prior to the National Telecommunications Commissions order to block links found in text scams, Smart has already been blocking URLs tied to the modus. By August of this year, the telco has blocked more than 5.5 million malicious domains, enabling it to prevent 11 billion attempts to access phishing sites.
Smart has also reiterated its support for the mandatory registration of SIM cards. A House panel recently approved the consolidated measure requiring the registration of prepaid and postpaid SIM cards, especially to curb mobile phone-aided criminal activities such as text scams.