#StopScams: Leonen sounds alarm vs spam text messages

November 26, 2021 - 4:58 PM
Illustration by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

A Supreme Court justice warned that the country’s digital infrastructure will be “vulnerable to mistrust and malware” following the barrage of spam texts that Filipinos have been receiving.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Thursday shared that he has been receiving “countless messages from unknown numbers with unsolicited advertising and various scams.”

“I have blocked many unknown numbers. This has to stop. Otherwise, our entire digital infrastructure will become vulnerable to mistrust and malware,” he wrote on Twitter.

Leonen accompanied his post with the hashtag “#StopScams.”

His tweet has earned more than 200 likes as of this writing.

Leonen is among the Filipinos who have been receiving spam text messages on their mobile numbers for the past days.

Some have been receiving sketchy job offers while others are receiving sales of products or items. There are some who have been receiving both.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Tuesday said that a global organized syndicate could be behind the slew of spam messages victimizing Filipinos.

According to NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro, it is unlikely that the SMS came from contract tracing systems given the huge chunk of mobile numbers that were illegally obtained.

“Ito ay isang international global na sindikato ang gumagawa nito at gumagamit ng mga numero na nakuha nila sa ibang paraan, malalaking database po na ginagamit nila dito,” he was quoted as saying in a Palace briefing.

“Maaring nanggaling sa mga dating na-breach o na-hack. Ginagalugad na rin natin ang dark web para malaman kung merong nag-trade ng numbers ng mga Pilipino diyan,” Liboro added.

Telcos Smart Communications and Globe Telecom said that they have been blocking numbers used by spammers. They also vowed to widen their cooperation with the government and other private sector partners in combatting the rise of spam texts.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), on the other hand, has directed cellular service providers to release a text blast advisory warning subscribers about the spam texts.

RELATED: ‘Babala!’ NTC counters spam SMS with… text blast warnings

The Commission on Human Rights said that “the online and digital protection of all is basic human right” in the digital age.

Rep. Alfred Vargas (Quezon City, 5th District) has filed House Resolution 2378 which urges the Department of Information and Communications Technology, NTC and NPC to conduct a thorough investigation into the spam text messages.