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Regulators order telcos to block suspect sites amid text scam explosion

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
text scams
Full names are now appearing on text spams raising concern among Filipinos. According to a National Privacy Commission official, names may have been manually or automatically scraped from certain apps.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines (Updated, 2:55 p.m.) — The National Telecommunications Commission ordered major telco firms to block clickable websites contained in spam text messages that continue to bombard mobile phone users. 

In a memo issued by the regulator on Monday, the NTC laid out the specifics of their order, including blocking or deactivating websites (uniform resource locators,TinyURLs, Smart Links and/or QR codes) that come from malicious sites.

These websites will need to be referenced with an existing database from the NTC, National Privacy Commission, Department of Trade and Industry, law enforcement agencies, subscriber reports and “those generated from machine learning or artificial intelligence.” 

Text scams have become commonplace in the country. The NPC concluded an initial probe recently, but details have been scarce while an NTC official noted scammers are scraping private information from mobile applications.

 A PLDT official quipped that names appearing in spam text messages could have been culled from popular mobile wallet GCash and messaging app Viber. 

The NTC is also ordering the country’s three major telco firms, Globe Telecom Inc, PLDT Inc, and Dito Telecommunity Corp., to submit a written report of compliance by the end of the week. 

Sought for comment, Dito and Globe said they would comply with the NTC's order. Globe said it will "coordinate closely with the NTC to come up with new solutions to further protect customers against online fraud."

The order came amid recent action from the private sector and government to investigate the worsening wave of text scams nationwide.

For the private sector’s part, telcos like Globe Telecom Inc, tweaked its privacy settings. GCash, also started anonymizing transactions.

vuukle comment

DITO TELECOMMUNITY CORP.

GLOBE TELECOM INC.

PLDT INC.

TEXT SCAMS

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