Telco giant PLDT said its cybersecurity team has uncovered that fraudsters were updating and operating SMS-related scams through group chats.
In a statement, Smart Communications, the wireless arm of PLDT, bared that newer text spams direct victims to a group chat in messaging application WhatsApp.
The telco added that their experts believe that chat administrators are part of a syndicate “who could be locals operating in the Philippines.”
It added that the fraudsters claim to be representatives of a Japanese department store planning to open a business in the Philippines based on its investigations.
“They’re herding potential victims into one group chat where they explain the supposed job or income opportunity,” said Angel Redoble, PLDT Group, ePLDT, and Smart’s first vice president and chief information security officer.
“Similar to previous engagements, the fraudsters will ask customers to sign up on the syndicate’s platform, link up their digital wallet, and shell out money to invest in the program,” he added.
Redoble said that the fraudsters even show victims falsified DTI certificates to validate their claims.
“The perpetrators even show supposed DTI certificates. Dedicated customer service representatives are also available to privately message victims who have additional questions,” he said, noting that there could also be “co-conspirators” in the group chats who give testimonials to deceive other people.
PLDT and Smart said they had blocked over 75,000 attempts to open phishing sites to prevent the scam.
Globe Telecom, meanwhile, has also been blocking numbers and messages that are participating in text spam.
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) had also formed an inter-agency body to strengthen its anti-cybercrime efforts following the growing incidents of SMS-related scams.
Source: ABS-CBN News
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