OTT spam, scam messages are on the rise

The SIM Registration Act helped a lot in mitigating the influx of spam and scam messages, but fraudsters continue to find new ways to target phishing victims, this time, taking advantage of popular OTT platforms such as chat apps to evade telco filters.

These fraudsters use both overseas and local numbers and mostly appear as business accounts with attractive profile photos to dupe people.

In their latest modus operandi, cyber criminals use the target’s full name and pretend to be messaging a missed connection or making various offers. Their strategy is to create a sense of familiarity and trust in an attempt to start a conversation.

Leading digital solutions platform Globe cautions customers against the rising number of spam and scam messages using over-the-top (OTT) media services, which are outside the scope of telco filters.

Anton Bonifacio, Chief Information Security Officer at Globe, said these scammers are capitalizing on the increasing shift to a more digital lifestyle and advised consumers to be more proactive.

“Embracing the digital world comes with its own set of risks, so we must remain vigilant in safeguarding our online presence. As technology advances, so do the tactics of fraudsters and scammers. The best way to combat this is to never engage with these messages and to block such senders immediately,” he said.

As OTT messages are beyond telco scope, Bonifacio stressed that awareness remains to be the first line of defense of customers.

“By staying informed and adopting personal security measures, we can navigate the digital landscape with confidence and protect ourselves from evolving cyber threats,” he added.

Globe, meanwhile, continues to block unwanted SMS, including app-to-person and person-to-person text messages from international and domestic sources, through a 24/7 Security Operations Center.

The company blocked close to 1.1 billion scam and spam messages in the first quarter of the year, a five-fold jump from the 217.31 million unwanted and unsolicited messages blocked in the same quarter last year.

Additionally, the number of blacklisted SIMs from Globe’s Stop Spam portal soared to 22,455 in the first quarter of 2023, a staggering increase from 1,812 during the same three-month period last year. It also deactivated 647 SIMs, of which, 610 were involved in sending scam or fraud messages, while the remaining 37 were used in sending spam messages.

The number of scam and spam messages blocked by Globe more than doubled to a record 2.72 billion last year from 1.15 billion in 2021 as it intensified its campaign against fraudsters and scammers. Likewise, It also deactivated 20,225 SIMs and blacklisted 35,333 SIMs.

To help stop the proliferation of such illegal activities, Globe reiterated its call for customers to register their SIMs before the July 25 extended deadline.

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Nonoy Taclino

Hi, I'm Nonoy of Iloilo City, and thanks for supporting my Tech and Lifestyle blog! I've been blogging and creating content in this digital space for over 15 years now, and hoping to share and interact with you more in this blog and other platforms in the days, months and years to come! You may also follow me on Facebook @digitalilonggo, Instagram @digitalilonggo and Twitter @nonoy. See you around Iloilo!

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