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Philippine telcos warn of ‘ransom’ calls, texts

Publication Date : 09-08-2014

 

 The Philippines' major mobile phone service providers on Friday warned their subscribers against falling victims to unscrupulous individuals who employ various tricks on unsuspecting victims to lure them into parting with their hard-earned money.

Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom issued the warning following a report on an attempt to extract ransom payment from a mobile phone subscriber in the guise of a kidnapping that did not actually happen.

Smart said that with the increased use of mobile devices and the Internet, scammers are becoming more creative in using these platforms to trick people into parting with their money and mobile credits.

Globe Telecom warned about a modus operandi involving calls supposedly coming from Globe agents asking customers to turn off their mobile phones for network-related updates.

According to Globe lawyer Froilan Castelo, Globe will never ask its customers to turn off their cell phones for any network-related purpose and those who receive such calls should immediately report the numbers used for the call.

Globe said that one of its subscriber received a call from someone claiming to be with the mobile phone company.

“He asked me to shut down my phone for two hours for 3G update to take place. As I was rushing for a meeting, I did not question, but just shut down my cell phone. After 45 minutes I felt very suspicious since the caller did not even introduce his name. I quickly turned on my cell phone and saw several missed calls from my family members and the others were from the number that had called me earlier.”

“I called my parents and I was shocked that they sounded very worried asking me whether I am safe.  My parents told me that they had received a call from someone claiming that they had me with them and asking for money to let me free. The call was so real and my parents even heard ‘my voice’ crying out loud asking for help. My father was already at the bank waiting for next call to process the transfer,” the Globe customer said.

“We reiterate and warn the public of these criminal elements capitalising on our network modernisation initiatives. Customers who receive suspicious calls from persons claiming to be Globe agents should clarify with our customer service personnel,” Castelo added.

Smart Communications Inc. listed some tip how to protect one's self from these unscrupulous individuals:

If someone claiming to be from your mobile service provider calls and instructs you to switch off your phone for software updates, do not comply. Scammers do this so your family would believe them when they say they abducted you, and that your loved ones must give money to get you back.

Be extra careful when dealing with callers or texters using unknown numbers, especially when they tell you that you’ve won in a raffle or promo that you did not even join in the first place.

Be wary of people asking you to send an SMS to 808. This number is Smart’s official “Pasaload” number.  You will only be sending your precious mobile credits to that scammer.

Verify the identity of people claiming to be your relatives.

Verify emergency claims. If someone calls to tell you your loved one has been involved in an emergency and needs money immediately, do not panic. Call the loved one to confirm that you’re not being scammed.

Don’t share your phone’s pass code or PIN with anyone. Scammers might save their number on your phone’s Contacts list under an official-sounding name so that when they eventually get in touch with you about fake prizes, you would fall into their trap. Or they can use your phone to try to get money from your loved ones.


 

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