Globe blocks 32.2 million spam texts with clickable links

October 25, 2022 - 3:51 PM
Illustration by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

More than 32.2 million spam text messages with clickable links were blocked by a telecommunication firm since it enforced its anti-fraud measure.

In a statement on October 24, Globe Telecom said that this number covers the date when it was implemented on September 28 until October 13.

“Globe blocked over 32.2 million scam and spam text messages with clickable links in just two weeks after enforcing its unprecedented measure against all person-to-person SMS with URLs,” the company said.

The telco firm noted that this means it blocked 2.4 million SMS with clickable links on average per day during this period.

This measure was considered an unprecedented and drastic move to stop text fraud amid rising reports about possible new schemes from unknown senders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globe first informed the public that it had started to temporarily block all text messages with clickable links on September 30, which was two days after the official launch.

Anton Bonifacio, Globe’s chief Information Security Officer, stated that only access to malicious links within text messages was blocked.

This time, however, the messages themselves were prohibited from being sent via its network.

READ: Reactions to Globe’s measure to stop text fraud 

The volume of messages that had been blocked during this duration serves as proof that it was necessary to be conducted to protect its subscribers, says Bonifacio.

“The amount of text messages with clickable links we blocked within just about two weeks shows the staggering number of spam and scam SMS that disrupt and threaten customers every day. This is empirical proof that our security measure was warranted,” he said.

The executive also urged mobile users to continue being vigilant against fraudulent individuals who are behind these text scams.

“We reiterate our call on our customers to remain vigilant as fraudsters will continue to find ways to circumvent measures that aim to thwart them. Do not engage with SMS from anonymous sources making enticing offers,” Bonifacio said.

Alarming number

Several mobile users expressed alarm over the number of SMS scams and spams that Globe detected during a short amount of time.

They asked how scammers managed to get a hold of their numbers and other personal data in the first place.

“Grabe. Ganun sila kadami!” a Twitter user asked.

“But where did those mobile numbers come from? Are they permanently blocked? Pano kung ma-recycle yung mobile number ng legit user? Is it possible to track them?” another user tweeted.

“This shouldn’t be happening in the first place. And how do they get our numbers?” a Facebook user commented.

RELATED: Text scam senders ask mobile users to type in suspicious links on browsers 

Others were also disappointed that this protocol prevented them from sending simple email addresses via SMS.

“The confusion and then frustration when finding out I couldn’t send emails and official links through text,” a Twitter user said.

“Problem though legit links for business/valid use are affected including email addresses, therefore making SMS communication difficult and less efficient,” another Facebook user commented.

Several Globe subscribers, meanwhile, were grateful that they had been receiving less spam messages recently.

“In fairness. I appreciate the effort. I’ve noticed a huge decline of spam messages recently. Thank you,” one Facebook user said.

Globe has been blocking a lot more messages prior to the implementation of its new anti-fraud policy.

From January to September, it blocked a staggering 1.3 billion messages that are both spam and scams. This exceeded the 1.15 billion messages it had blocked for the whole of 2021.

Blocked SMS also skyrocketed by 295.74% over nine months. This means that the 68.34 million SMS blocked in January increased to 270.5 million in September.

Moreover, the network also spent P1.1 billion to ramp up its detection and blocking system against spams and scams.