Globe removes clickable links from SMS amid rising spoofing reports

Globe Telecom
Globe Telecom

GLOBE Telecom Inc. said on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, that it has removed all clickable links from messages it sends to its customers following spoofing incidents sent by scammers supposedly from “8080” or Globe.

“Since last week, we have been removing all clickable links across messages we send to our customers so that they can identify which messages are legit and which ones are spoofed... If there’s a clickable link, that’s not legit,” said Globe consumer mobile business head Darius Delgado, during Globe’s online briefing.

“This way, our customers will be protected as their security and safety are very important to us because we want our brands in the market to be the most trustworthy ones,” he added.

Scammers may use spoofing to impersonate legitimate businesses, government agencies, or individuals to deceive recipients into providing sensitive information or money. Spoofing can also be exploited for fraudulent or malicious activities, such as phishing scams, identity theft or spreading misinformation.

According to Delgado, customers in certain areas in Metro Manila have been spoofed through illegal equipment called an international mobile subscriber identity (Imsi) catcher, or a fake cell tower or tower base.

“This Imsi catcher forces phones within a certain area to downgrade to 2G and once these phones are connected to that fake tower users within that limited radius can receive SMS from any spoofed number or sender ID,” he said.

These messages, according to Delgado do not pass through Globe’s network and aren’t caught by Globe’s built-in anti-spam filter.

“Imsi catchers are an emerging global threat with reported incidents around the world, and we have been working with partners to deliver a solution to this problem and, at the same time, collaborating with law enforcement agencies today to catch these culprits,” Delgado said.

Financial fraud

Meanwhile, Globe reported it registered a 73.7 percent reduction in blocked spam and scam SMS related to banks in 2023.

Globe intercepted 21.9 million bank-related spam and scam SMS in 2023, a sharp decline from the 83.39 million messages blocked the previous year.

The Ayala-led telco credited this achievement to the effectiveness of the company’s proactive strategies and its robust partnerships with the country’s major banks and financial institutions.

Globe earlier forged anti-fraud pacts with the Bankers Association of the Philippines, encompassing 45 major banks, and various individual players in the finance sector to enable vigorous and timely data and intelligence-sharing, aligning efforts to prevent and investigate fraud more effectively.

Globe invested about US$20 million to enhance its spam and scam SMS detection and blocking system and operates a round-the-clock Security Operations Center to filter out unwanted messages, including app-to-person and person-to-person SMS from international and domestic sources.

“Despite facing certain limitations, our dedication to customer protection remains unwavering,” said Anton Bonifacio, chief information security officer at Globe.

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