PLDT, Smart step up crackdown on scam text messages

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PLDT Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. have blocked nearly 78,000 SIM (subscriber identity module) cards from January to May this year as part of efforts to curb the proliferation of scam text messages.

The Pangilinan-led telecommunication firm said this was more than double the number of SIM cards linked to fraudulent activity that it blocked in the same period last year.

On average, the PLDT Group said it had been shooting down over 15,000 SIMs observed to be engaged in phishing every month since the year began.

“This was made possible by the additional tools employed by the Group coupled with expanded detection efforts in identifying mobile numbers being used in the fraudulent activity. PLDT and Smart also coordinate with SMS (short message service) aggregators when suspicious messages are traced on their network,” the listed telco player said.

Phishing is a fraudulent activity where scammers trick users into giving out their personal and sensitive information through suspicious emails, mobile messages and links.

Apart from this, the Pangilinan-led firm also blocked over 500 domains linked to SMS phishing from mid-February to May this year.

Angel Redoble, chief information security officer at PLDT and Smart, said they had “proactively blocked” the mobile numbers found to be involved in phishing, even without a customer complaint.

“We continue to engage our customers, sharing with them useful tips on identifying malicious messages and protecting their personal data. We also work with relevant government offices, as well as law enforcement agencies, to effectively combat fraud and cybercrime,” Redoble added.

Last year, PLDT and Smart invested around P3 billion in cybersecurity infrastructure to beef up protection against digital threats.

Recently, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky noted that the rampant fake job text scams were due to scammers taking advantage of the country’s unemployment situation.


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