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EXPLAINER: How Spam Texts are Used to Steal Your Data

Don't fall for unsolicited text messages.
by Pia Regalado
Oct 11, 2021
Photo/s: Pixabay / FirmBee

Have you received a text message asking you to click on a link to confirm your bank details or other sensitive information? It could be smishing, or SMS phishing, another ploy by fraudsters to steal your data, the National Privacy Commission said.

The privacy watchdog said it received complaints for smishing , or people receiving text messages from unknown numbers posing as bank representatives or online sellers asking for their data.

"Ito'y isang uri ng hacking kung saan hindi na gumagamit ng puwersa ang hacker kasi ikaw mismo, 'pag naloko ka na nila, nalansi ka nila, ikaw na magbibigay ng sarili mong impormasyon sa kanila," National Privacy Commission chairperson Raymund Liboro told DZBB on Monday.

Smishing scammers pose as bank representatives saying there was a suspicious withdrawal from your account and you need to update your credentials on the link provided, Liboro said.

They will also ask online shoppers to fill out additional forms for other details including bank account details to confirm their transaction

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Lahat ho siguro kayo minsan nakakatanggap ng messages na hindi mo malaman kung saan nanggaling and there are links. And once you click that, they might lead you to a malicious website where they can do further collection," he told ABS-CBN News.


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The NPC is looking into reports that scammers got the contact information from manual contact tracing or health declaration forms or apps, Liboro said.

He said the NPC issued at least 58 compliance and warning letters to local government units to ensure the proper handling of personal data.

While establishments have the responsibility to safeguard personal data, the public holds the "first line of defense".

"Gusto natin magtiwala ang mga kababayan natin sa convenience na dala ng digital pero pagtulong-tulungan po natin na panatilihin pong safe itong bagong environment natin," he said.

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Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from these scams:

  • Do not click links of services you did not signed up for
  • Be cautious of shortened links from unknown numbers as it could be used to conceal malicious links
  • Do not type in your personal or financial information on online forms
  • Do not open in-app links. Change to the default browser of your mobile phone that opens links
  • Immediately block and report unsoliticed text messages using the built-in spam feature in your SMS apps
  • Disable link previews in the SMS app

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