The National Privacy Commission (NPC) issued a public advisory on Thursday, reminding Filipinos of the dangers and consequences of selling registered SIM cards.
The NPC said it has received reports of individuals who are lured by monetary offers to register and sell SIM cards to unknown entities. This practice is not only illegal under the SIM Registration Act, but also exposes the sellers to potential legal liabilities and privacy harms if the SIM cards are used for malicious activities.
“[Registering and selling SIM cards for the primary intention of selling them places] data subjects in a vulnerable position, exposing them to potential legal repercussions, risks, and harms if a SIM card, registered in their name, is misused for illicit activities,” the NPC said in its advisory.
The NPC urged the public to protect themselves as subscribers and data subjects by following these steps:
- Awareness: Educate yourself about the legal and privacy implications of registering and selling SIM cards. Familiarize yourself with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its provisions.
- Vigilance: Be cautious of unsolicited offers to purchase your registered SIM card. Scrutinize the intentions behind such offers and verify the credibility of the individuals making them.
- Report Suspicious Activities: If you are approached with offers to sell your registered SIM card, report such incidents to your telecommunications service provider. Timely reporting can help prevent potential misuse of your personal data.
- Reporting Change of Information with the Telecommunications Companies (Telcos): Promptly report any changes in the information of the subscriber (end-user) so that the telcos can update their database in accordance with the SIM Registration Act.
- Identity Verification: Before transferring ownership of a SIM card, ensure that proper identity verification procedures are followed. This can help prevent unauthorized transfers.
- Legal Compliance: If you decide to sell or transfer a registered SIM card, adhere to the legal requirements for reporting such transactions as required under the SIM Registration Act.
The NPC warned that violators of the SIM Registration Act may face imprisonment ranging from six months to six years, or a fine of ₱100,000.00 to ₱300,000.00, or both.
“The NPC earnestly urges all data subjects to take heed of this advisory and to remain vigilant against participating in any actions that may put at risk their personal data. The NPC remains committed to safeguarding the data privacy rights of every Filipino citizen, and we stand ready to take appropriate action against those who disregard and violate the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and related issuances,” the NPC said.