Building on the government’s efforts to curb cybercrime through SIM registration, PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are urging the public to double check messages they receive through text and email before opening any attachment or clicking on links.
“Social engineering remains the most common tactic used by criminals to lure customers into giving up vital information. There is no silver bullet to fighting cybercrime. We strongly urge our customers to adopt a cybersecurity mindset to avoid falling prey to scams and fraud,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart.
Phishing attacks, considered the most popular form of social engineering, target vulnerable mobile users. Often posing as legitimate companies or organizations, criminals send out click-bait messages or place calls that tempt customers into revealing their personal data. Phishing can be done over text messages or SMShing and voice calls or vishing.
To keep customers aware of these threats, PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) shares CyberSmart tips in spotting red flags. These can be easily remembered by the acronym – SCAM.
Sender is unknown. Never answer calls or open emails from persons and entities you don’t know. Scammers often use regular numbers contrary to custom sender IDs used by private companies. They may also contact you through online messaging platforms. And always remember that legitimate bank representatives never ask for one-time password (OTP).
Compelling reason to act immediately. Phishing messages often rush you to click on the link to avail of the special promo or limited offer.
Attention grabbing offers. Scammers often promise financial rewards or too-good-to-be-true promos to bait potential victims.
Malicious link. Whether sent via SMS or email, these messages are often accompanied by a link that leads to a phishing website.
Since Smart intensified efforts against criminal activities facilitated over wireless services, it has seen a seven-fold jump in monthly blocked SIMs to more than 35,000 as of July 2023 from under 5,000 in 2020. In July alone, it blocked more than seven million phishing messages.
The efforts of PLDT and Smart to drive relevant cybersecurity information on scams and fraud are fundamental to the PLDT Group’s much broader program to elevate the quality of customer experience by protecting them from threats and attacks.