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LAW ON REGISTRATION OF PRE-PAID SIM CARDS URGED

Reacting to the news of teachers losing savings due to a cyber scam and countless other online fraud incidents, senatorial aspirant lawyer Alex Lacson is pushing for a series of measures that will strengthen the fight against fraud and prevent loss of savings and income.

“I have been pushing for that registry of all SIM cards for a while. With the House and the Senate approving a SIM Registration Act last December, they should sit down quickly to resolve the differences and send it immediately for the signature of President Duterte,” said Lacson.

Lacson is also batting for an SMS SenderID Protection Registry like what is found in Singapore and the UK. 

Lacson was a columnist of the BusinessWorld Newspaper from 1996 to 2004. In his column, he discussed frauds in the corporate world and scams in businesses. He was also the general counsel of the Bank of Cebu for a number of years.

“Isang taon pa bago mare-register ang mga nabentang pre-paid cards.  Mahabang panahon yan para magamit ang unregistered pre-paid cards sa illegal na gawain. Kaya madalas na ginagamit ang unregistered pre-paid cards sa mga scams at frauds. Paano nalang ang mga kawawang Pilipino na nawawalan ng kanilang naipon?” added Lacson.

“Dapat instant ang pag register ng mga binebentang pre-paid cards, para naka register kaagad kung sino ang tunay na may ari, para hindi na magamit sa mga illegal na Gawain,” said Lacson.

“Dahil sa pandemya at parating na eleksyon, dapat talaga may kapasidad na makita kung sinu-sino ang gumagamit ng mga pekeng accounts na nanloloko sa marami kaya nagagamit ang kanilang personal at pinansyal na impormasyon.  Pero kulang pa yan – unang hakbang lang yan,” concludes Lacson.

Lacson is also batting for an SMS SenderID Protection Registry like what is found in Singapore and the UK. 

“An SMS Protection Registry will help protect our merchants and banks because it will check whether a sender ID is authorized by the merchant or bank or not.  For example, kung meron text na kunwari ay galing sa isang bangko, katulad nitong Landbank na bangko ng ating mga public school teachers, dapat gumamit ang Landbank ng Sender ID at itong registry na ito will check if it really came from the authorized Sender ID or not.  If not, it will block the SMS as fraudulent.  This should really help reduce the use of SMS by fraudulent syndicates,” he explained.

Lacson also noted that many of these texts seem to come from criminals abroad. 

“It may also be possible for local telcos to flag whether the SMS is coming from abroad, i.e. not from someone currently in the Philippines, even if the SIM card was bought in the Philippines. That provides additional protection to the SMS recipient, since if they are not expecting a text from abroad, it would put them on their guard and they would then block or not respond to the text,” he said.

Lacson also proposes a massive information campaign though schools and media, as well as teaching accountholders how to detect fraudulent electronic messages that seek information. 

Lacson also proposes a massive information campaign though schools and media, as well as teaching accountholders how to detect fraudulent electronic messages that seek information. 

“Our people, especially our youth, need to be taught how to detect fraudulent attempts, kung ano ang pagkakaiba ng smishing (o yung paggamit ng SMS para illegal na makuha ang impormasyon ng isang tao), phishing (paggamit ng email), o vishing (paggamit ng telepono), what to click and not to click, and how to keep their information safe.  This is one of those life skills all our children should learn.  Kahit ilang tip pa ang manggaling sa bangko, experience shows it is not enough.  Kailangan may practice – maintindihan ng lahat kung ano ang tamang URL o paano makita ang mga pekeng account at mensahe,” he said.

Finally, Lacson would support a bill that seeks to increase penalties for enabling fraud and theft using online or digital channels. 

“Nagulat ako nung binasa ko yung mga bill na fine lang ang ibibigay kung nagbenta ang merchant ng SIM card na walang registration. It is time we be more strict about this. We are seeing so many successful attempts to steal the funds and personal information of our people. We are now into the future, and we will just see more transactions occurring over these digital channels.  We have to protect our people, and make sure we stay ahead of these fraudsters,” he concludes.

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