The SIM Registration Act has been exploited by scammers who have registered SIM cards using pictures of monkeys and fake or stolen IDs.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revealed the alarming security lapses of telecom companies during a recent Senate hearing. The NBI showed screenshots of SIM card registration forms that had pictures of monkeys instead of human faces.
The NBI also said that some scammers used fake or stolen IDs to register SIM cards, which could be used for fraudulent activities such as phishing, identity theft, and hacking.
The SIM Registration Act requires all mobile phone users to register their SIM cards with their name, age, address, mobile number, photo, and a government-issued identification card. Registration is free and can be done online or face-to-face in telco providers’ customer centers and booths.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said that as of July 25, 2023, more than 110 million SIM cards had been registered out of the 168 million existing cards in the country. The NTC warned the public about scammers online who solicit fees for SIM card registration assistance.
The NTC and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) advised the public to exercise caution and not provide personal details to anyone who claims to offer help with SIM card registration. They also urged the public to report any issues related to SIM card registration to their hotlines or email addresses.
Senators pressed the DICT to come up with better safeguards to stop the use of registered SIM cards for illegal purposes. They also called for post-validation of registered SIM cards to ensure that they belong to real people.
The DICT said that it is coordinating with law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute scammers who abuse the SIM Registration Act.