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Philippine senate to probe incessant surge in text scams

Senator Grace Poe also called for the revival of the Philippines’ SIM Card Registration Act vetoed by former President Rodrigo Duterte

The Philippine senate has launched an investigation to identify offenders behind widespread phishing scams in the country.

Per reports, Philippine citizens encountered an unprecedented number of text messages that attempted to steal their passwords for fraudulent transactions. 

Heavy reliance on mobile devices, following COVID-19, for shopping and food delivery orders, as well as banking, contributed to the rise of mobile-based scams.

Corroborating the ordeal, the country's two biggest telecoms providers, PLDT and Globe stated they had successfully blocked over one billion spam and suspicious text messages by far.

Sharing their insights further, the telecom firms affirmed that no cyber attacks have occurred on their combined mobile subscriber base of 156 million.

Even so, the surge in phishing scams has led Senator Grace Poe, who heads the senate's public services committee, to call for an increase in cyber crime control measures.

"This is a staggering number of messages that prey upon the vulnerable like those who are unemployed, in need of money or are just unfamiliar with these schemes," Poe said.

The Senator also insisted “it was time for lawmakers to revive a bill, vetoed last year by then President Rodrigo Duterte, that would require SIM card buyers to register with network providers to prevent scams and misinformation.”

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According to the former president’s spokesperson, Duterte vetoed the bill after learning the proposed law mandated the inclusion of social media accounts for identification.

“[He] was constrained to disagree with the inclusion of social media in the measure, without providing proper guidelines and definitions thereto, as the same may give rise to a situation of dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights,” said presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar.

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