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DOJ warns public on text scams

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday warned the public against the latest text scams on job offerings.

The DOJ through the Office of Cybercrime urged the public to ignore the work opportunities being offered by unknown senders of short message service as it is part of text scams.

“Be cautious before taking up an opportunity to work offered by unknown SMS (short message service) senders,” said the DOJ-OCC in its advisory issued Tuesday.

It said the senders of these text messages “will ask the applicant to pay for application or training fees and will promise high wages.”

The DOJ said the messages “would also require the applicant to answer an extensive personal information questionnaire that would then be used by the scammers to commit identity theft.”

Globe Telecom and Smart Communication said they have intensified their efforts to stop the sudden rise of text spam in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s order to warn customers on dubious text messages.

Globe Telecom said it is ready to collaborate with other stakeholders to help protect Filipino customers from “smishing” and other fraudulent activities. Smishing occurs through mobile text messaging in which scammers deceive victims into giving their personal data. Scammers then use this data to take over a victim’s financial accounts.

“Globe fights spam everyday. We reiterate our position that fraud prevention and detection is in Globe’s and our partner-banks and online retailers’ shared legitimate interest as Personal Information Controllers, in order to ensure uninterrupted business operations, and ultimately, to protect our customers,”  Atty. Irish Salandanan-Almeida, Globe’s Data Protection Officer said.

Angel Redoble, PLDT and Smart’s Chief Information Security Officer, said the recent SMS spamming activities are specific to job hiring. “If mobile users open the link from any of these scam text messages, they will be redirected to the WhatsApp platform, in which they will be offered an attractive salary package, ranging from P500 to P10,000.”

Redoble likened this scheme to “digital pyramiding.”

PLDT and Smart have designed Indicators of Compromise (IOC) to identify such malicious activities and to address potential cyber threats to the network. Through a multiple layer blocking system, CSOG protects subscribers by flagging mobile numbers, domains, and IP addresses that the system finds threatening.

As this new modus is proving to be a novel phishing scam, the group advises the public to follow a number of precautionary measures to avoid becoming fraud victims.

“If you receive these kinds of messages, do not follow the links because their company is not hiring people, and it is most likely a scam. You have to be paranoid with every suspicious email, link, or text message, as scammers not only take your information but also your hard-earned money,” said Redoble.

Senator Grace Poe meanwhile said mobile phone fraud exploiting customers’ personal information “must stop.”

She said the government and the private sector must move together quickly against syndicates that have boosted their attacks on a massive scale and alarming pace.

“They are preying on the vulnerabilities of the public dependent on mobile phones,” said Poe.

“We also urge the public to be extremely vigilant in looking out for signs of the illegal activities and to safeguard their personal information and other sensitive data,” added the chairperson of the Senate committee on  public  services. With Darwin G. Amojelar and Macon Ramos-Araneta

Topics: Department of Justice , DOJ , Office of Cybercrime , text scams , job offering scams
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