Millions of spam messages blocked in Philippines as scams surge

·1 min read
Filipinos use their smartphones while queueing for free vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila, Philippines, July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Filipinos use their smartphones while queueing for free vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila, Philippines, July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

By Cecilia Yap

Philippine telecommunications provider Globe Telecom Inc. said it has blocked nearly 71 million spam messages and deactivated 5,670 mobile-phone numbers this year, amid public complaints about dodgy job offers they receive on their gadgets. 

“Given the ongoing pandemic, many businesses are struggling to get their products across to consumers. This has contributed to a surge in unsolicited marketing campaigns from digital marketers or spammers,” Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said in a statement Monday. These “spammers” use number databases from public information or online data, he said.

The Ayala-owned unit has invested $7.25 million to boost its anti-spam capability since the pandemic started. It also has partnered with banks, as well as online stores Lazada and Shopee to minimize spams, scams and phishing by reporting fake numbers, spoofed sender names and websites.

“In a nation where unemployment and digital disinformation are high, these kinds of messages can mislead many,” said Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the chamber’s labor committee. He asked the privacy commission to look into the text scams.

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