MANILA – Mobile users are urged to make use of filters on their smartphones to help combat the rising number of spam and scams through SMS messaging.
In a statement Wednesday, Globe Telecom Inc. (Globe) chief information security officer Anton Bonifacio said SMS fraud is similar to a constantly-adapting virus and called for mobile users to be "double-masked" through telco blocking and public awareness.
“Online scams and fraud viruses are very strong so you need to be aware of another layer of protection. Mobile users can easily enable anti-spam filters on their mobile devices and they should always be vigilant of scams. It has to go both ways,” Bonifacio said.
He said both local and international fraud syndicates continue to find ways around spam-blocking measures of telecom companies (telco) despite their “aggressive” enforcement.
“At the end of the day, for as long as scamming is lucrative for criminals, they will keep on looking for ways to do it. They try to bypass our blocking filters by changing the spelling of words and using different characters so they won’t get flagged. It’s like a game of cat-and-mouse,” he said.
Globe, he said, has been sending out reminders to the public through social media posts to instruct on how to enable spam filters on their devices, report unwanted SMS on its ‘Stop Spam’ portal, and detect suspicious messages.
“If both telcos and customers will exercise vigilance, I think there are better chances that we can stop them,” he said.
Globe’s Stop Spam portal is at https://www.facebook.com/GlobeIcon/posts/3034437066773933 and an instructional video on how to activate spam filters on android phones is at https://www.facebook.com/GlobeIcon/posts/3034437066773933.
“If we’re able to catch up the ability of people to be more aware so that they won’t get duped, then syndicates won’t make a profit out of these scams. Once they no longer have ROI (return of investment) for the devices they acquire for their scam business, hopefully, they’ll stop,” he said.
From January to June 15 of this year alone, Globe has blocked over 138 million fraudulent messages, including more than nine million messages based on reports from its partner banks.
It also deactivated 12,877 SIM cards due to spamming from January to May through reports from its Stop Scam portal. (PNA)