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Globe warns public vs scams anew as fraudsters shift to new methods amid SIM registration law, telco blocking

Globe reiterates its call for the public to exercise extra vigilance as law enforcers warned of a fresh rise in online and text fraud.

Anton Bonifacio, Globe Chief Information Security Officer, said fraudsters are finding new ways to bait potential victims to circumvent the SIM Registration Act and sustained industry efforts to block spam and scam SMS.

Because of Globe’s tighter regulations, Mr. Bonifacio said scammers are increasingly shifting to over-the-top (OTT) media services such as chat apps and spoofing, or the use of illegal devices to trick customer phones, all of which operate outside the scope of telcos.

“As much as we improve our filtering systems and enhance the implementation of the SIM Registration Act, fraudsters continue to find new ways to make victims out of mobile and internet users. We would like to reiterate our appeal to the public: please, please never engage with unsolicited calls, texts or chat messages and never give your personal details to strangers,” said Mr. Bonifacio.

According to police data, cases of cyber identity theft in the Philippines increased by 12.2% in 2023, with 1,597 cases logged compared to 1,402 in 2022.

Meanwhile, Globe’s own data showed that scam and spam texts continued to increase, with 5.48 billion unwanted SMS blocked in 2023, double the figure in 2022 at 2.7 billion. Globe has been stringent in fending off scam and spam SMS, blocking all person-to-person SMS with URLs since September 2022, an industry first.

Out of the total, there’s a silver lining. Globe saw a marked decline in bank-related spam and scam SMS blocked in 2023 at 21.9 million — a 73.7% drop from 83.39 million in 2022 — owing to Globe’s anti-fraud partnerships with major banks and financial institutions.

Through its 24/7 #StopSpam portal meanwhile, Globe also blocked a total 220,669 SIMs in 2023, majority of which are competitor SIMs. This figure is nearly four times the total in 2022.

Other than blocking efforts, Globe continues its public campaign on online safety, most recently teaching senior citizens on risks to watch out for when using apps. At Globe’s recent #SeniorDigizen learning session, some 200 elderly were taught how to protect their email accounts and how to keep their mobile wallet secure, among other digital skills tackled at the half-day event.

“As we push for digital inclusion, we also want to make our online safety efforts as inclusive. Globe will always find ways to reach as many of our customers as possible to protect them against the dangers that lurk online,” said Mr. Bonifacio.

Globe recently spent $90 million to boost cybersecurity, complementing the $20-million infrastructure it earlier invested in to fight spam and scam messages.

To report spam or scam SMS, visit Globe’s #StopSpam portal.

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