National Privacy Commissioner (NPC) Raymund Liboro on Tuesday warned the public against responding to text messages that offer jobs or rewards that are “too good to be true,” noting that such scams are becoming more widespread.
In a Laging Handa briefing, Liboro said the sender of such messages must be immediately blocked, noting that interacting with them, especially giving out sensitive information such as identity and bank details, can result in more serious harm.
“This is not only happening in the Philippines but in other countries as well. And this is being done by an organized syndicate, that’s why we must all be careful,” Liboro said in Filipino.
While such scams are becoming more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said there is no evidence that mobile numbers and other personal information being used by such scammers come from contact tracing forms.
“They are using large databases for this. These possibly originate from previous breaches or hacks. They also search the dark web,” Liboro said in Filipino.
To avoid becoming the target of such scams, he warned against giving out personal information to untrusted entities and carefully read the terms or conditions of companies that are asking for such data.
“You may be agreeing to have that information be made public, and that can be scraped and used for no good,” Liboro said in Filipino.
He warned scammers that the unauthorized collecting and processing of personal data are illegal under the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and can be punishable by incarceration for six months to two years or a fine ranging from P500,000 to P2 million.
He called on victims of such scams to reach out to their telecommunications service provider, the NPC, and the National Telecommunications Commission for help.