DICT shares tips on how to avoid being scammed amid fake MMDA NCAP text message

May 7, 2024 - 11:37 AM
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MMDA_scam text
Photo of a scam text message posted by the Metro Manila Development Authority on Facebook on May 6, 2024 (MMDAPH/Facebook)

A government agency gave Filipinos tips on how they can avoid becoming victims of cyber attacks after reports of fake text messages circulated about violating a supposed policy of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Saturday told the public to “disregard” a text message claiming they have violated the traffic authority’s No Contact Apprehension Policy and to settle their supposed fines.

Among those who received such a message was Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who said that “greedy scammers” were “getting desperate” with their stunts.

The message reads:

MMDA No-Touch Arrest Penalty Notice: Pay traffic fines through phmy.tw upon notification or driver’s permit will be suspended for 30 days. 

“This is a scam,” Leonen said.

Other Filipinos also responded to his post with an accompanying screengrab of the message they have also received.

The MMDA said that no such policy exists. It added that it is also not sending notices saying an individual should pay something through a website link.

“Ang link sa text message ay ididirekta ka sa pekeng website na ginagamit ang pangalan ng Land Transportation Office at sinasabing kapag inilagay ang iyong plate number ay malalaman mo ang iyong traffic violation hanggang sa kung paano babayaran ang multa,” it said.

The MMDA added that it is coordinating with authorities, including the Land Transportation Office, to determine who is behind the scam.

“Huwag pindutin ang link na may kahina-hinalang text message upang makaiwas sa pagbibigay ng personal at sensitibong impormasyon,” it said.

Kung may natatanggap na kahina-hinalang mensahe o post sa social media, maaaring tumawag sa MMDA Hotline 136 o magpadala ng mensahe sa MMDA official accounts,” the agency added.

The DICT also reminded the public that the MMDA’s NCAP has been suspended since 2022.

To avoid becoming victims, it advised Filipinos to keep the following in mind whenever they encounter such messages:

  • Ignore suspicious and malicious text messages.
  • Check the sender of the text message and verify the information received by referring to the official social media accounts and websites of the government.
  • Do not click the website links from suspicious text messages as this will prevent you from sending sensitive information.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication to provide an additional layer of security for your accounts.

The DICT also encouraged the public to report cyber scams to the Inter-Agency Response Center hotline which is handled by the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, an attached agency of the DICT.

They can be contacted by calling 1326.

The MMDA said that it would not accept payment of penalties under NCAP following the suspension of the policy through a temporary restraining order the Supreme Court issued in 2022 due to privacy issues.

The agency, along with the local governments of Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Parañaque City, Muntinlupa and the LTO, is awaiting a decision on whether to implement the policy of catching traffic violators using surveillance cameras.