The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has warned the public against the increasing number of spam text messages that offer jobs with high salaries. They believed an organized international syndicate was behind it.
Based on their preliminary investigation, at the Laging Handa briefing, Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said they did not see any direct evidence linking the possibility of a “leak” in contact tracing forms to the proliferation of spam text messages.
“In this particular case, ‘pagkat libo-libo kung ‘di man daang libong Pilipino ang nakakakuha ng mga text na ito, ay napakahirap gawin niyan kung iisa-isahin ang mga contact tracing form o health declaration forms,” said Liboro.
“Wala tayong direktang ebidensya na nagpapakita nito,” he added.
The NPC suspects that an organized international or global syndicate is behind the random spam text messages.
Even in other countries, it is said that there are such incidents.
“Ang gumagawa nito at gumagamit ng mga numero na nakuha nila sa ibang paraan. Malalaking database ang ginagamit nila dito. Maaaring nanggaling ‘yan sa mga dating na-breach o na-hack,” said Liboro.
The NPC is also investigating the possibility of a “dark web” or people providing mobile numbers.
In a report by GMA News “24 Oras” on Tuesday, Clarko Ramirez was said to be one of those who received various spam text messages from numbers he did not know.
International syndicate could be behind alleged spam text messages
He said that he was offered various things such as a job with a high salary and other transactions.
“Naiinis na ko kasi ang dami talaga niya. Kahit mag-block ka ng mga number ang dami pa ring pumapasok,” said Ramirez.
In a separate statement, Liboro said the sender’s activities of the text messages were “smishing activities” committed by a global crime syndicate. ”
“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,” the official said.
At the same time, the NPC said they would call the data protection officers of telcos, online shopping apps, and some banks to ask for a report on their spam prevention measures.
Liboro reminded the public, “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.”