Authorities urge public to ignore messages from unknown senders

·3 min read

AUTHORITIES have urged the public not to respond to text messages or calls from unknown senders or callers, especially those offering good-to-be-true deals.

Officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) made the call following the proliferation of spam and phishing messages across the country.

Bill Peralta of NTC 7’s Complaint Section told SunStar Cebu that even officials like himself are not spared by it as he also recently received spam messages.

Peralta urged the public to not only avoid spam messages but also to report them to their office through their hotline.

“As of now, what we can do is to block the number and educate our users on how they will fall victim to these kinds of schemes. As of now, we can’t act against senders of fake messages because there is still now that registers prepaid SIM owners,” Peralta said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Peralta said scammers are not afraid to send fake text messages as they could not be easily traced unless the Senate Bill 2395 or SIM Card Registration Act would be enacted into a law.

Peralta said those who received spam messages can provide a photo of the text messages, including the cellphone number of the sender, and send it to ntc_vii@yahoo.com for proper action.

“Please ignore it and if you have time, just email it to us so we can make a request to NTC Manila to block the said text messages,” Peralta added.

Don’t reply

Lt. Michelle Salbino, PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group spokersperson, said messages from unknown senders, especially those with links, must be ignored as most of these are from scammers.

“If you reply to these messages, the scammer will be able to determine if the number he or she is texting is still active,” Salbino said in Cebuano.

She added that replying to these messages or clicking on links sent by these scammers will only expose the subject’s personal information.

He said presence of mind is needed for a person not to fall victims to scams.

On Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, Sen. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian filed a resolution seeking for a probe into the proliferation of spam and phishing text messages that put the consumers’ right to privacy and security at risk.

Gatchalian said the government, through relevant agencies, needs to implement measures to stop the proliferation of spam messages that contain information that appears to come from reputable or reliable sources and attempts to obtain a user’s sensitive information, such as username, passwords, and credit card details.

“It is alarming that while major telecommunication providers claim to have already blocked a significant number of spam and phishing text messages, the problem continues to hound many telco subscribers,” he said.

“The inclusion of the receiver’s name indicates a breach of consumers’ right to privacy and this breach stirs fear that their personal details may have already been compromised,” he added. (PAC, BBT / TPT, LMY)