November 25, 2021

Text scams and giving out personal information should be avoided, according to the privacy chief.

Raymund Liboro, the National Privacy Commissioner (NPC), warned the public on Tuesday not to respond to text messages that offer “too good to be true” jobs or rewards, noting that such scams are becoming more common.

Liboro said in a Laging Handa briefing that the sender of such messages should be blocked right away, noting that interacting with them, especially giving out sensitive information like identity and bank account numbers, can lead to more serious harm.

“Hindi lamang nangyayari sa Pilipinas, maging sa ibang bansa, hindi lamang nangyayari sa ibang bansa, hindi lamang nangyayari sa I At ito po ay ginagawa po ng isang organized syndicate, kaya mag-ingat po tayong lahat (This is happening not only in the Philippines, but also in other countries.) And this is being carried out by a well-organized syndicate, which is why we must all exercise caution),” Liboro explained.

While such scams are becoming more common during the Covid-19 pandemic, he claims there is no evidence that the scammers get their mobile numbers and other personal information from contact tracing forms.

“Ang ginagamit nila dito, malalaking database po. Iyan po maaring nanggaling sa mga dati hong na-breach at na-hack. (They are using large databases for this.) Ginagalugad na rin natin iyong dark web dito. These could be the result of previous data breaches or hacks. They also conduct searches on the dark web),” Liboro explained.

To avoid becoming a victim of such scams, he advised against disclosing personal information to unknown sources and reading the terms and conditions of companies that request such information.

“Maaring sumasang-ayon kayo na gawing public itong mga impormasyon na iyon, iyan po ay nai-scrape, nakakayod ho sabi nga at nagagamit po sa hindi tama,” Liboro said.

He warned scammers that under the Data Privacy Act of 2012, unauthorized collection and processing of personal data is illegal and can result in incarceration for six months to two years or a fine ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP2 million.

He urged victims of such scams to seek assistance from their telecommunications service provider, the National Postal Corporation, and the National Telecommunications Commission.

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