The government should adopt a zero tolerance policy against text scams as the “next great pyramid” will be built on the foundation of stolen data of cellphone and internet users, Senator Joel Villanueva said.
“Iyan po ang dapat nating paghandaan. Sabi nga po nila, there are more pyramids in the Philippines than in Egypt. While the pyramids here eventually come crashing down, many soon rise to replace them,” Villanueva said.
The veteran legislator was referring to get-rich-quick Ponzi schemes, or illegal chain distribution plans, which promise astronomically high returns on investments, but in fact are drawn from money put in by new recruits.
“The next pyramid builders will no longer rely on word-of-mouth marketing. They will use digital recruitment to lure victims. Iyan pong Pyramid scam version 2.0 ang iwasan natin,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed.
“Katulad po ng COVID, mayroon pong mutation ang mga ganitong scam.”
“Katulad po ng COVID, mayroon pong mutation ang mga ganitong scam,” the senator said.
“And just like in fighting the virus, the government should be ahead of the curve in preventing internet and cellphone scams from victimizing our people,” he added.
As the country reels from the pandemic-fueled high employment and underemployment rates, Villanueva fears that job seekers are a huge market for scammers.
The unemployment rate in September 2021 reached 8.9%, which is about 4.25 million jobless workers.
Desperate people have always been the target clientele of scammers, he said.
“Ang taong nagigipit ay mas madaling kumapit sa mga budol text na natatanggap nila.”
“Ang taong nagigipit ay mas madaling kumapit sa mga budol text na natatanggap nila,” Villanueva said. “Kaya po pinaalalahanan natin ang ating mga kababayan na maging mapanuri sa kanilang mga natatanggap na impormasyon mula sa mga text.”
He called on the government to be wary of “data brokers” who sell personal data of consumers.
“In this internet age, marami kasi pong mga data capture points tulad ng membership sa
mga utilities, government, social institutions, financial companies, etc,” Villanueva pointed out.
“At kadalasan ang mga personal information na ito ay nanggagaling sa mga empleyado at manggagawa. Kaya po para sa atin, ang data protection na sasaklaw sa kanila ay isang uri ng workers’ protection,” he stressed.
This is why “smishing” should be given no quarters by the government, Villanueva pointed out, referring to the cybercrime of sending messages to induce recipients to reveal personal information.