Espinoza: Scammers still abound

Free Zone
Espinoza Free Zone
Espinoza Free ZoneFile photo

Pit Senyor! As we celebrate this month the feast of Señor Sto. Niño, Cebu’s patron, let us not forget the true intention of the celebration, which is the veneration of and reverence for the patron. The Sinulog dance, although it originated from the candle vendors at the Basilica del Sto. Niño, is only a festivity spearheaded by the Cebu City Government in honor of Sto. Niño and to promote the city worldwide.

Even if the issues between Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on the venue for the Sinulog Grand Parade and the Grand Ritual Showdown appear to have been resolved, it is a sad spectacle when two officials argue over the venue for Sinulog considering that this event is in honor of the patron. Wish their differences of opinion do not become personal.

On the other hand, and just like in past Sinulog celebrations with Rama in power, the mayor has disagreed with the city police’s recommendation to turn off the cellphone signal as a precautionary measure on the day of the Sinulog festivity, which will be held at the South Road Properties on the third Sunday this month (Jan. 21). Naturally, the police cannot say no to the mayor.

Talking of cellphones reminded of the government’s strong campaign for the SIM registration to prevent if not eventually stop scammers since they had victimized hundreds if not millions of unsuspecting cellphone users or owners. And we heartily welcomed the government’s move, believing that there would be no more cellphone scammers.

Not only me, but some of my friends and acquaintances have also complained of routinely receiving scam messages. One of the messages, which is similar to the other messages that I have received from scammers even after I blocked their numbers, is like this: “Unionbank Alert: Your account was used as a payment method in PTOC4B for an amount of PHP 33,300. To cancel this payment, visit:” I also received scam messages using a BDO account, even though I don’t have an account with the bank. These are not pranks and it is not funny to receive these kinds of messages.

Greg Rubio, editor of The Freeman, who also has been receiving scam messages, posted on his Facebook account the National Telecommunication Commission’s (NTC) update on the SIM registration: Dito has 9,146,463 registered SIMs; Globe, 58,194,995; and Smart, 55,338,557, or a total of 122,680,015.

With the scam messages that I have been receiving every day, just like Greg Rubio, does this mean telcos are still selling SIM cards without registering them? Or are the scammers much smarter than our tech experts in government?

The NTC should do more than what it has started. We cannot also accuse the telcos of collusion with the scammers since they would not gain anything except for the sale of SIM cards, which are cheap. And my experience when I bought a SIM from one of the telcos is that they assisted me in registering the SIM online.

So NTC, where do these scammers get their SIMs? If under the law the new system is supposed to be fool-proof, how are these scammers able to send scam messages?


I was impressed yesterday morning with the discipline of the Mandauehanons in disposing of their garbage. I passed by residences near the Mandaue City Health Office after I dropped off Doc Malou. The residents brought their garbage out upon the arrival of the garbage truck and I did not see any spilled trash on the road.

Congratulations, Mayor Jonas Cortes and your fellow city officials and workers, for the good job in imposing discipline with regard to residential garbage.


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