Filipinos are advised to be vigilant and report any suspicious text messages they receive. Online and text scams are still prevalent, even after the mandatory SIM card registration took effect this year.
Text scammers are still active and they can still obtain the personal information of mobile users through various means, such as social media, online directories, raffle tickets, and application forms.
One possible source of scam text messages is the pre-registered unopened SIM cards from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which could also be involved in online fraud.
POGOs are online gambling firms that operate in the Philippines but cater to customers outside the country. They are required to register their SIM cards with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), but some of them may sell or use their excess SIM cards for illegal purposes.
According to the NTC, there are 32 PAGCOR-licensed POGOs as of July 18, 2023. It is believed that there are some who are operating in the Philippines illegally.
Some of the common types of text scams include fake job offers, investment opportunities, money rewards, raffle draw winners, freezing of bank accounts, and phishing links.
Should you receive such messages, ignore and delete them, and do not click on any link attached to them. You can also report text scams to firstname.lastname@example.org, on the NTC website www.ntc.gov.ph, or call the I-ARC Hotline at 1326.
The SIM card registration law aims to prevent crimes such as terrorism, kidnapping, extortion, and identity theft that are facilitated by anonymous SIM cards.
The law requires all existing and new SIM card users to register their personal information with their respective service providers. Those who fail to comply will face penalties such as deactivation of their SIM cards or imprisonment.