Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson warned the public Monday of ‘smishing’ scammers using his name, particularly in these days ahead of the campaign period on February 8.
He urged the public not to respond to such dubious messages, whether through SMS (short messaging service) or messaging apps
Smishing is the criiminal activity of sending ext messages to people to perauded them to give personal information like credit card details and personal identification numbers – the message arriving as a text message on a cell phone.
According to Lacson, he had not been spared from the rash of those using text messaging to extract personal information for nefarious activities.
The former national police chief stressed he would never authorize or condone such practice.
The longtime public servant has also called on the National Privacy Commission to look more closely into attempts at digital vote-buying in the run-up to the May 9, 2022 elections, calling it a threat not just to the electoral system but to democracy itself.
In a picture uploaded on social media over the weekend, a victim of the scam showed a screenshot of a message from a person who introduced himself as a member of Lacson’s family.
The message sender said he was sending “ayuda” (cash aid) and the person targeted only needed to send his personal information to receive the supposed funding.
“This is from Ping Lacson Family. Can you please claim your Ayuda’s from our Fam?,” the scammer’s text message read.
“Note: If you are interested to get that pls. reply your real name and followed by your complete address. Thank You,” the message added.
Based on the screen shot, after the victim sent his personal information, the scammer no longer replied.
In the Philippines, authorities have listed phishing as the top cybercrime for years now. Smishing attacks are delivered by both traditional text messaging and non-SMS messaging apps. These attacks spread fast and are often unnoticeable due to their deceptive nature.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has filed House Resolution 2393 to conduct an investigation into the increasing number of text scams in the country.
Text scams continue to victimize many phone subscribers whether it be prepaid and postpaid, he lamented, citing the number of complaints reaching his office.
“Some subscribers claim that they noticed a spike in the number of text scams and spams after they submitted their phone numbers to COVID-19 tracing apps or logbooks in establishments purportedly for contact tracing,” he added.
He called on the National Privacy Commission, Department of Information and Communications Technology, and National Telecommunications Commission to “seriously” address the issue of text scams.
“We have to be extra careful not only with COVID-19 but with sharing our personal data because there are too many scammers out here,” he said.