Cabaero: Online scams, again

Cabaero: Online scams, again

What has changed in the five months since a government official declared that online scams have unseated the illegal drug trade as the top organized crime operation in the country? Not much.

Spam messages and attempts to defraud the public have resurfaced after a short hiatus when the SIM Registration Act came into effect. The break showed the effectiveness of registering Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards with telecommunications companies. Until online scams came back in trickles at first, then at a more persistent level recently.

An official of the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission said five months ago or in September last year that online fraud operations have proliferated and even grown in notoriety following the confiscation of thousands of SIM cards from Philippine offshore gaming operators. This was the latest twist in the ongoing challenge to curb online fraud and criminal activities after the government regulated SIM card ownership. And, scammers using text messages are at it again.

“Deposit Promo! Free 277 PHP on 100 PHP Deposit. Register now (then a website address that ends with .eu).” The message was from +639124098152. Similar messages came from +639512050425, +639481049279, +639633556188, +639519418684, +639649312492 and +639517716993, based on text messages in my phone inbox. I did not open them all as the first two lines were enough to tell me their intent.

“GCash Alert! Please be advised that we are asking everyone to update their account to avoid deactivation. Update here:”. Message came from +639633793034. The website name is not a link but that is probably of recklessness on the part of the scammer or a way of getting around the law. Imagine if the website link was active and recipients clicked it and compromised the security of their devices. That would be a gateway to fraud.

Here’s another. The message purportedly came from “Banco De Oro.” “You’re having issues with account security. Please review them at Sincerely, BANCO DE ORO.” Message from +639638794319. Another message from +639638869805 and purportedly also from “Banco de Oro” had the same text except the website name was “”

Those not informed of anti-spam measures are prone to click on these messages. Don’t click on those links. There were numerous other similar messages that I did not read because they were irritating and because I could open myself to more of these spam messages.

Spam messages and attempts to defraud the public are back and there seem to be not enough controls being done by regulators.

When President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the SIM Registration Act, his first law, on Oct. 10, 2022, I was one of those who called for immediate action. I was criticized online for demanding urgent action just after the law was passed, but there was no other way to match the President’s priority if not with immediate and dramatic measures.

Recent spam messages being circulated point to scammers mocking and taunting regulators and President Marcos himself.


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