Sen. Grace Poe called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to intensify efforts to halt rampant text scams victimizing many unsuspecting mobile phone users in the country.
“The unabated surge of text scams has brought further hardship and distress on our people who are already mired in debts. This must stop,” Poe said.
The senator herself has received a number of unwanted texts from prepaid mobile phone numbers promising jobs, extra income, incentives and freebies.
“As more rely on digital technology to cope with the hard times, so must we intensify all necessary safeguards against heightened risks that can overturn our people’s efforts at recovery,” Poe said.
Despite the NTC’s earlier directive to major telcos Globe, Smart and Dito to warn subscribers against fake jobs from May 28 to June 4, such text messages have persisted with new gimmicks to bait and deceive mobile phone users.
As of end-March 2022, Globe has 87.4 million subscribers while Smart has 70.3 million. As of end-2021, Dito reported having five million subscribers.
Poe likewise urged telcos to beef up their continuing efforts to block SIM cards clearly used only in criminal pursuits.
She likewise urged the incoming 19th Congress to take up the SIM card registration bill to help institutionalize protection for millions of mobile phone users in the country.
It can be recalled that the 18th Congress passed the Poe-sponsored measure, which faced a snag when it was vetoed by the outgoing administration amid the few remaining session days before sine die adjournment.
Poe said, “The whole of government must ensconce a safer and more secure digital and mobile phone use in the country to protect our people from falling deeper into poverty and helplessness.”
“To most, the mobile phone is their only means to survive, and it shouldn’t at all be compromised,” Poe emphasized.