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Smart blocking numbers, IP addresses due to spam messages

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Smart Communications, Inc. has been blocking mobile numbers and IP addresses due to the recent spike in spam text messages.

From October 21 to November 20, Smart has blocked an average of 400 to 500 mobile numbers daily that have been found to be related to SMS (short message service) hoax and spam, and some 40 domains and IP addresses used by online scammers, the company said in a statement. 

“We protect our customers and block these suspicious accounts on several layers. We block fraudulent accounts based on mobile numbers associated with fraud,” said PLDT and Smart chief information and security officer Angel Redoble.

“But since mobile numbers may be easily replaced, we also block on the domain and IP address levels, as soon as we have evidence that a specific domain is used as a platform by scammers,” Redoble said.

The PLDT-Smart security officer said that the spam messages might be “a huge and sophisticated scam by an organized global syndicate.”

The National Privacy Commission earlier said that an organized international or global syndicate is behind the influx of random spam text messages. 

The scheme involves sending unsolicited but enticing messages such as jobs with high salaries from unknown numbers, which could lead to an elaborate online phishing scam where the target mobile users end up falling victim to fraud.

To empower customers to protect themselves against falling victim to these scams, Smart advised mobile users not to entertain questions or surveys from unknown senders and to never provide their personal information to strangers. 

They may also use their SMS app’s built-in blocking feature. 

Mobile users who receive these suspicious and unsolicited SMS may also report the scammers and their numbers directly to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the telco said.

The NTC, after due process, may then order Smart to cut the cybercriminals’ numbers, it added. — VBL, GMA News

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