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NTC: Over 45k scam complaints received despite SIM registration

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday said it has received more than 45,000 complaints on text scams despite the implementation of SIM registration.

At the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services, NTC Commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez said the concerned victims received text scams or forwarded money to the scammers.

“During the early phase of the SIM registration, we noticed a decline in the text scam complaints received in our office. However, in the ensuing months, we again noticed a sharp increase of reported scams,” she said.

“As of date, we have received a total of 45,697 complaints related to scams,” she added.

Lopez said the technical working group, who came up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the SIM registration, held a meeting on August 29 to discuss post-registration validation mechanism.

This is to remove registrations that used fraudulent IDs and fictitious identities.

The telcos were asked to submit their proposals for the post-registration validation mechanism, So far, Lopez said only two have provided their proposals.

As of September 3, Lopez said a total of 118,908,469 SIM cards have been registered.

The SIM Registration Act seeks to end crimes using the platform including text and online scams by regulating the sale and the use of SIMs through mandating registration to end-users. 

The law mandates all public telecommunication entities to submit a verified list of their authorized dealers and agents nationwide to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and an updated list of the same every quarter of each year.

According to the law, failure to comply within the prescribed period shall authorize the PTEs to automatically deactivate its services to the specific existing prepaid SIM subscriber.

The new law provides provisions on Confidentiality and Non-disclosure of Information which prohibit disclosure of any information of a subscriber, unless upon subpoena or lawful order from a competent court or written request from law enforcement agency in relation to an ongoing investigation, that a particular number requested is used in the commission of a crime.

The confidentiality clause in the SIM registration shall take effect at the point of sale, the law states.

The law also mandates appropriate penalties for failure to register a SIM, for breach of confidentiality, for breach of confidentiality due to negligence, for providing false or fictitious information or for using fictitious identities or fraudulent identification of documents to register a SIM, for spoofing a registered SIM, for sale of stolen SIM, and for sale or transfer of a registered SIM without complying with required registration. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News