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Global crime group behind scam texts, Privacy Commission says

Have you been receiving text messages offering various high-paying jobs with a link to messaging app?

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said those who receive this shouldn’t open the link and just ignore or delete the message.

In a statement, the commission said this is smishing, or SMS phishing which is a phishing cybersecurity attack carried out over mobile text messaging.

Their initial investigation showed that these smishing activities are being run by a global crime syndicate.

Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro sought to allay fears that personal information provided in contact tracing forms may have been breached.

“If our initial findings prove true, that personal data is being exploited by criminals abroad, then this also becomes a matter of national security, which should compel government, the private sector and advocate groups to work hand in hand and take more urgent and concrete action to safeguard,” Liboro said.

He said they have summoned the data protection officers of Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, Dito Telecommunity, Lazada, Shopee and several banks to report on their spam prevention measures and take further steps to combat the recent surge of scam texts.

“We have summoned them to detail their current and future measures to combat smishing. Ultimately, we want to secure their commitment and focus in fighting these fraudulent practices so we can best strategize how to block these messages and protect our data subjects,” Liboro said.

He reminded the public anew to remain vigilant and to not open suspicious links.

“If from an unknown number, and with an offer that is too good to be true, it is most probably not true and is a scam,” Liboro said. (MTVI/Ventures Cebu)

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