THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Northern Mindanao Region is warning the public anew against scams through text messages after the DTI-Lanao del Norte Office was swamped with queries from individuals inquiring about the authenticity of supposed raffle draws involving big amounts of money.
Ruel Paclipan, provincial director or DTI-Lanao del Norte, said the public should be careful on text messages especially those involving cash prizes.
“Since the government alone could not totally end the text scam, and the proposed measures to strengthen the protection of mobile phone subscribers are still hanging, the consuming public should be cautioned not to right away believe on the text messages they received that they won," Paclipan said.
"They must verify this first to appropriate agencies, or to the service providers and not just give in to the demand of the swindlers," he added.
Paclipan said a text message is not legitimate when an advisory comes from an 11-digit mobile phone number, while authentic advisories are labeled accordingly and will not originate from an unidentified 11-digit mobile phone number.
The DTI-Northern Mindanao in its advisory, said, some text messages are intended to extort money or load credits by tricking the consumers.
"For example, the texts with content 'Network Advisory: Your postpaid account has been wrongly charged with Php500 for data roaming. To correct this, please text 200 to 2917xxxxxxx. Thank you' and a call for help from relative or family member who is in trouble. A relative or a family member allegedly encountered problems while on a trip and requests for some form of monetary assistance often through load credits," the DTI-10 said.
The DTI-Northern Mindanao, however, said that by adding the number “2” before the 10-digit cell phone number of the recipient, the unsuspecting subscriber would have done a Share-A-Load transaction, thus the sum of 200 pesos in the examples above would be transferred or credited to the prepaid number to which the message was sent to.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), a government entity under the Department of Transportation and Communications with a mandate to regulate mobile services, has previously admitted the difficulty in stopping these scammers.
The NTC said blocking a SIM from sending messages is possible but unscrupulous individuals can just get new ones.
"This is why we are advising the public to protect themselves from these scammers, please verify all suspicious text messages they receive," Paclipan said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 23, 2017.