Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the bill mandating the registration of all users of prepaid subscriber identity module or SIM cards in the Senate to enable authorities to easily clamp down on those engaged in illegal activities.
He said a number of people in recent months had fallen prey to online fraudsters who used prepaid SIM cards as a tool to carry out their wicked activities.
The senator, who was himself a recent victim of those illegal activities, learned that the perpetrators managed to charge to his credit card account an online food delivery after gaining access to a security feature on web-based services—the One-Time Password–using a prepaid mobile phone.
“When fraudsters gain access to OTPs, it’s as if they’re the actual owners of the account doing the transaction,” Gatchalian said.
The senator, who as early as June 30, 2016, filed a bill mandating the registration of all users of prepaid SIM cards, said it was now imperative to consider regulating its sale and distribution to help curb unlawful activities. He re-filed the measure in July 2019.
“The boundless stream of supply of prepaid SIM cards has become a magnet of illicit activities since the start of the pandemic,” Gatchalian said.
He said there had been countless cases of online fraudsters using unregistered mobile numbers.
“It is important to have the face or name on the back of prepaid SIM cards especially during this pandemic where contact-tracing is needed.
“What’s the difference if the registration of prepaid SIM cards will be made a requirement to register in going to places for contact-tracing?” he said.
Under Senate Bill 176 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, end users of prepaid SIM cards would be required to present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card.
Copies of the accomplished forms would be furnished to the same service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission.