Several mobile users confirmed receiving fewer suspicious messages after a big telecommunication provider started an unprecedented measure to stop text fraud.
Globe Telecom on Friday, September 30 said that it has started to temporarily block all text messages with clickable links from prepaid and postpaid numbers.
Globe is the first telecommunications provider to have conducted this measure against spam and scam messages.
This move was initiated this week following reports of unsolicited text messages that contained recipients’ names.
Prior to the new measure, the company used to block access to malicious links in text messages.
Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio explained this in a statement.
“Before implementing this measure, what we were doing was blocking access to malicious links in text messages to help protect customers. This time around, we’re blocking the actual message,” Bonifacio said.
“If the SMS (short messaging service) has a link of any kind, we are not going to deliver it, period. This is necessary to protect the customers,” he added.
Globe also expressed support for the passage of the SIM Registration Bill that will regulate the distribution of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the country.
It said that should this bill be signed into law, it will “strengthen” the government’s authority to apprehend digital scammers and other cybercriminals.
This will also empower Globe and other telco firms in further protecting their customers from fraudulent activity.
When this news circulated online, some Globe subscribers said that they have been receiving less suspicious texts lately.
Others welcomed this response to the scams. However, they said that this should have been done before.
“It’s about time!” one online user said.
“Kaya naman pala gawin. Kudos!” another online user commented.
“Puwede naman pala,” another online user expressed relief.
Some Filipinos, meanwhile, hoped that other telco firms will also follow suit.
Reports about different types of schemes in text messages and emails surged as the country adapted to cashless transactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, concerns were raised over seemingly personalized text messages that bear the full names of mobile recipients.
Other users likened the format to their usernames at GCash, Globe’s electronic wallet service.
It is also considered the largest e-wallet app in the country.
In response to these concerns, GCash made an update on the platform where some letters of cash recipients’ names are hidden.
This update, however, is only applicable to the mobile app.
The text notifications that recipients receive for GCash transactions still bear their full names.
The National Privacy Commission also launched its own investigation into the matter.
In its previous statement, the NPC said that the recent cases of modified smishing messages were sent via phone-to-phone (P2P) transmissions and not data aggregators.
“The NPC, through its Complaints and Investigation Division, has observed from the smishing reports it received, that the smishing messages appear to have been sent using specific mobile numbers registered to certain texting devices,” the NPC said in a previous statement.