MANILA - Smart Communications, Inc. yesterday warned the public against hoax text messages that ask subscribers for airtime load, money or personal information.

Some hoax messages supposedly come from a family member or relative abroad and ask the recipient to reload their “new” roaming number. Others purportedly come from Smart congratulating a subscriber for “winning” cash or a car in a promo.

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Other messages require the subscriber to register by texting his or her name and personal details to a regular cellular phone number.

Regular numbers

“As we stated in our previous advisories, we urge our subscribers to ignore text messages from unknown cellphone numbers that ask for load or money, or that promise rewards. Please do not respond to text messages that request for personal information such as name, Smart Money or bank account numbers or credit card details or even your birthday,” said Smart head for public affairs Ramon R. Isberto.

“Some scammers also resort to calling. They target wives or relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). They would claim that they are co-workers or friends of the victim’s husband or relative abroad. They would tell the victims that their loved one met an accident, and need money to save his life. They would ask for money to be deposited to Smart Money accounts. Before doing anything, double- and triple-check,” he said.

For messages that supposedly come from Smart advising subscribers that they won at a promo or a contest, Isberto said there are ways to distinguish a hoax text message from an official one.

“First of all, when there’s a promo or contest, Smart never asks winners to pay for their prizes. A valid and official Smart prize notification text comes from a three- or four-digit number, or a “Smart” sender ID.”

Registered mail

“We never send prize notification text messages via a regular Smart cellular phone number. Winners will also receive a confirmation call from a four-digit number from Smart,” he said.

Isberto said winners are also officially notified by Smart via registered mail.

Subscribers may also call the hotline at toll-free *888 from their cellular phones or 888-1111from a landline to verify if they indeed won prizes from Smart.

They may also go to the nearest Smart business centers to verify such text messages. (PR)