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Beware of Texts With Offers: How to Avoid SMS Scams
Here are “SecuriTips” for 2022, a year where text message scams are increasingly making their rounds
Any mobile phone user in the Philippines can easily name the one unusual text activity that’s cropped up in 2022: spam SMS messages. In 2021 alone, Globe blocked over 1.15B scam and spam messages. These activities have become more prevalent in 2022.
Random, persistent, and sent by unknown numbers, these messages make unsolicited offers related to products, services, promos, and job openings. In some cases, these scammers claim users have won contests or giveaways they haven’t even entered. And while many are privy to these schemes, there are still individuals that fall prey to them.
What are users in for when they do fall for SMS scams? For one, these deceitful messages are used by scammers to lure SMS recipients into disclosing sensitive information. One common instance is to get individuals to provide a one-time password to one of their accounts, after which the scammer will proceed with an unauthorized online transition (a subscription, account registration, or money transfer). Another example would be to straightforwardly acquire a user’s personal data like their birthday, address, and bank account number.
Daunting as these encounters might be, there are safeguards that mobile phone users can turn to. Globe, for its part as a service provider, is working on doubling down on anti-spam efforts. Users, on their end, can also opt to activate their SMS spam filters. In addition, they best keep the “SecuriTips” ahead in mind.
Check the SMS for inconsistencies.
There are three things to question when receiving text messages: the source, the format, and the message itself. Is the sender using a random, private mobile number? Are there spelling and grammatical errors? Does the text include unusual links? These are red flags to watch out for as they typically point to spam and scam messages.
Think before you click on links included in the SMS.
In the same way that providing sensitive information can pave the way for security breaches, tapping on unknown links poses threats to your security. In some cases, scammers can go so far as to infect a user’s device, whether a mobile phone or desktop, just by getting them to tap on malicious links. Regardless of how enticing the message is, do not heed calls to action coming from random numbers.
Verify the legitimacy of the text message with the company the text claims to be from.
Scammers sometimes deceive users by associating themselves with companies in banking, entertainment (Netflix and Amazon are often name-dropped), and e-commerce (Shopee and Lazada, for example), among others. But as a rule of thumb, remember that these companies are highly unlikely to reach out to their customers via prepaid or postpaid mobile numbers. Either way, it pays to verify the messages you receive by reaching out to these companies via social media, email, or their dedicated hotline.
Report the scam or spam message.
If you suspect that the message you received is part of a scam or falls under spam, you may report it immediately: to Globe via https://www.globe.com.ph/stop-spam and to the NTC via https://ntc.gov.ph/complaint-page-2/. Support teams are assigned to respond accordingly by deactivating the numbers if proven fraudulent or involved in unlawful acts.
Keep safe and always be on the lookout for scams. On this front, Globe is working on new technology to help detect suspicious content so you can keep your connections secured.