Smart Communications sends out a warning to its customers to be vigilant against text scams that are now being committed via online messaging platforms.
In a statement, Smart said that criminals are now using over-the-top (OTT) messaging platforms such as Viber, WhatsApp, and Messenger to send scam messages to unsuspecting users.
While OTTs require an active mobile number to register, users don’t need to connect with their SIM’s mobile data network to access services provided by these OTTs.
“We have deactivated all unregistered SIMs at the end of the registration period. And we continue to block mobile numbers that are being used in illegal activities. But hackers have since migrated to over-the-top services (OTTs) such as online messaging platforms,” said Atty. Roy Ibay, Vice President and Head of Regulatory Affairs at Smart.
“Our observation is that, although deactivated numbers may not be able to use the basic services of the mobile operator, users can still use messaging and voice call services provided by OTTs if they registered their numbers with the OTT platform prior to the deadline or before getting deactivated,” Ibay further explained.
Smart has been actively blocking scam messages and numbers, but the criminals are always finding new ways to circumvent its security measures.
From January to July this year, Smart has prevented more than 40 million SMShing messages from reaching customers. It has also blocked more than 211,000 mobile numbers tied to phishing activities from its network.
Here are some tips to help you avoid text scams:
- Do not entertain calls or texts from unknown numbers.
- Do not click on links from suspicious messages.
- Be wary of messages that ask for personal information, such as your bank account number or credit card number.
- If you think you have received a scam message, do not reply to it. Report it instead.
Smart urges customers to be careful and to never click on links from unknown senders. If you have received phishing messages, take a screenshot of the message, and report the incident to firstname.lastname@example.org.