Globe to verify identity of 61 million users

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
Globe to verify identity of 61 million users
To fight bad actors, Globe is tightening its verification process for SIM card registration.

MANILA, Philippines — Globe Telecom Inc. has initiated the authentication of each and every subscriber identity module (SIM) in its network to weed out mobile numbers involved in fraudulent activities.

To fight bad actors, Globe is tightening its verification process for SIM card registration.

Globe chief information security officer Anton Bonifacio admitted that spam messages continue to bug subscribers, acknowledging that fraudsters find ways to carry out malicious activities even with SIM card registration in place.

As such, Bonifacio said Globe would embark on an internal assessment to determine the bad actors in its network. This effort will require Globe to verify the identity of its more than 61 million customers.

Bonifacio said that criminals register their SIM cards nowadays using false identities to circumvent the security systems put up by telcos. Likewise, he said there exists a black market for the sale of legitimate SIM cards, which fraudsters repurpose for malicious activities.

With this, Globe is cautious that even legitimate SIM cards are being used to trick people into giving up their sensitive information like bank details.

“These scam messages that continue to spread could be from SIM cards obtained in the black market with false identities or legitimate SIMs used as mules,” Bonifacio said.

“There is a market for selling or loaning legitimately registered SIMs that could be used as mules in criminal activities, and our hope is that with the validation process of SIM registration data through our upgraded platform, we will be able to deactivate these scam-linked SIMs,” he said.

Data showed that the number of spam texts in circulation doubled in 2023 even with the mandate to register each and every SIM. The number of spam messages blocked by Globe jumped to 5.48 billion from 2.7 billion in 2022, proof that scammers find means to evade the law.

Right now, Globe is working on improving its SIM registration platform to lessen the prevalence of online fraud. The telco said that it can now verify personal data in as fast as 24 hours.

In 2023 Globe also blacklisted a total of 220,669 SIM cards, the bulk of which came from competitor networks, for their involvement in the distribution of spam texts.

The telco operates an anti-fraud system called StopSpam where customers may report unsolicited texts for possible deactivation.

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