(PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – Local telecommunications company Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has disclosed that the increasing text scams in the country are likely to be coming from overseas.

In a statement on Friday, PLDT-Smart first vice president and chief information security officer Angel Redoble said these findings are the result of an initial investigation with the country’s law enforcement agencies and state investigators.

“(Foreign criminals) are working with domestic operators to purchase prepaid SIMs (subscriber identity modules) in bulk and use these to send ‘smishing’ messages,” Redoble said.

To help combat such cybercrimes, Smart is backing the proposed SIM card registration bill, recently approved on second reading by the House of Representatives, which would require SIM cards to be registered with a person’s name and other personal information.

“We need a whole-of-community approach. We are sharing relevant information with authorities to identify the perpetrators. We also need to find out how the criminals were able to amass mobile numbers so we can find a solution that will further protect personal data,” he said.

In the meantime, local telecommunications companies (telcos) have boosted their spam filtering and blocking capabilities and are working with the government to find the sources and stop the proliferation of text scams.

On September 7, an investigation by the National Privacy Commission, telcos, and other government agencies found that data aggregators – or companies that collect data for commercial purposes – are unlikely to be the source of the recent wave of text scams that contain the name of their receivers.

Such scams were found to be sent through phone-to-phone transmission, not application-to-phone transmission, which uses the regular network of telcos and does not pass through data aggregators. (PNA)