Telcos told: Block SMS scam links

The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered the country’s major mobile operators to deactivate clickable links in text messages amid the recent surge in scam and spam texts.

In a memorandum dated 12 September, the NTC directed DITO Telecommunity, Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications to “block or deactivate domains or Uniform Resource Locators or URLs, TinyURLs, Smart Links and/or QR Codes emanating from malicious sites” based on the existing database sourced from government agencies.

These agencies include the NTC, National Privacy Commission, Department of Trade and Industry, and law enforcement agencies.

Also covered are subscriber reports and “those generated from machine learning or artificial intelligence.”.

The telcos were also asked to submit a written report of compliance to the Office of the Commissioner on or before 16 September.

The directive is in line with NTC’s initiatives to address the proliferation of text scams, which have evolved into other “variants” other than fake job offerings. Fraudulent messages as of late even include the name of the recipient.

It also reiterated its call to the public to be vigilant of such text scams, adding that such modus can be minimized and even avoided if phone users will refuse providing personal information to strangers, decline survey questions from unknown senders and ignore dubious websites.

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