Telecommunications company Globe has renewed its call on customers to be vigilant against unwanted messages they receive from unknown numbers via over-the-top (OTT) media services or chat apps.
According to Anton Reynaldo Bonifacio, chief information security officer of Globe, this warming came amid reports of rising cases after the implementation of stricter SMS regulation through the SIM Registration Act. Fraudsters have turned to using OTT services to evade telco networks’ spam filters, with many using foreign numbers.
“OTT messages are not SIM-based and do not pass through telco networks,” Bonifacio explained. “We have no control over them. But what Globe can do is once we confirm that an OTT account associated with a Globe number has been used for fraud, we deactivate this SIM.
Bonifacio also pointed out that many OTT accounts targeting Philippine mobile users use foreign SIMs, which are outside the scope of Philippine telcos.
“This is why it is important for customers who use OTT services to be more vigilant. Never engage with chat messages from numbers they do not know, including those making various offers. Please block these numbers and report them to the chat app you’re using,” he said.
Globe is working with government agencies and various private sector partners to constantly step up efforts against fraud within areas under its control.
As part of its proactive spam blocking, Globe was the first telco to block all person-to-person (P2P) SMS with clickable links within its network in September 2022, a measure enforced industry-wide last month by the National Telecommunications Commission.
By the end of September this year, Globe had blocked a total of 2.59 billion spam and scam messages, deactivated 4,733 SIMs, and blacklisted 150,287 linked to SMS fraud. Globe deactivates SIMS from its own network linked to fraud and blacklists numbers from other networks to stop them from sending SMS to Globe SIMs.
Globe also runs a 24/7 Security Operations Center to filter out unwanted messages from international and local numbers. It has invested a total $20 million to enhance its spam and scam SMS detection and blocking mechanisms.