Poe: Text scams still rampant despite reports of reduction

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — A lawmaker on Sunday said text scams are still rampant despite reports of scaling down from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

“There are still SIM farms out there and spoofing tools. Sinister minds will never stop hatching ways of stealing information and duping people," Senator Grace Poe said.

In January, the DICT said there has been a "significant drop" in text scams following the implementation of the SIM (subscriber identity module) registration law.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the SIM registration law last October 2022.

Under Republic Act 11934 or the SIM registration law, all existing subscribers nationwide are required to register their mobile numbers with their service network.

Unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated after April 26, 2023.

Poe, the principal author of the SIM registration law, urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the telecommunications companies to “pull out all the stops” to increase SIM registrants before the deadline.

"With the law, we expect all fraudulent and unwanted text messages to die a natural death. But we must not let our guard down," she added.

Latest data from the DICT showed that as of March 17, 45.8 million users have registered their SIMs, a number equivalent to 27.12% of the 169 million SIMs nationwide.

Possible extension

DICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo earlier said the agency has the prerogative to extend the SIM Registration process for another 120 days. She said possible deadline extension will depend on the number of registrants in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Poe said the extension should be used to further strengthen the SIM registration campaign.

“The extension period, if so decided by the DICT, will be for the legitimate subscribers to register and avoid disruption in their mobile phone services. This should not extend the heydays of the scammers," she added.