Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called on all concerned agencies to be more vigilanton the emergence of new mobile and online “phishing” scams and intensify the campaign against deceptive and sham transactions through text messages.
Gatchalian on Friday prodded the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to promptly act on reports of “a new form of SMSishing or short message service [SMS].”
The senator cited reports that the new phishing scheme is said to be duping receivers into sending money through the use of a credit card. This, he stressed, strengthens the need to pursue legislation mandating the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the country.
Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, warned that “scammers, owing to the technological advances that are evolving at a fast pace these past few years, have become more innovative in carrying out their nefarious activities.”
He asserted the need for Congress to promptly act on the matter, stressing that “existing laws should also keep up with the times and be responsive to the needs and concerns of the public.”
Gatchalian confirmed he was acting on the reported spoofing of the official Lazada SMS account to trick victims into sending money which was recently uncovered. He recalled an online news article reported that a would-be victim almost fell prey to such a scheme after receiving a message informing him of a prize that he had won along with a one-time pin (OTP) and was directed to claim the prize through a link or URL.
“Here’s the catch—to make him eligible for the prize, a certain amount of money is supposed to be paid,” the senator said, adding that it was “a good thing, an inquiry with Lazada led him to discover that it was a scam.”
The senator related that just like the e-mail phishing, scammers would send text messages and the receiver of the message will be asked to click a particular link where personal information may be gathered.
Gatchalian, who earlier filed Senate Bill 176 requiring the registration of all users of pre-paid SIM cards, affirmed that authorities could track down the culprits behind the scam if the mobile numbers used are traced through the SIM card.
Image credits: Roy Domingo