PLDT-Smart’s cybersecurity operations team had a new discovery relating to the recent SMS text scam that’s been bombarding a lot of mobile users in the Philippines.

As per the security group, the link found on the recent text messages lands to a WhatsApp group chat. The group believes that the administrators of the said group chats are part of a local syndicate in the Philippines.

It’s said that the scammers are dressing as representatives of a known Japanese department store chain and are looking to invest in the Philippines.

“They’re herding potential victims into one group chat where they explain the supposed job or income opportunity. Similar with previous engagements, the fraudsters will ask customers to sign up on the syndicate’s platform, link up their digital wallet, and shell out money to invest in the program,”

Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of the PLDT Group, ePLDT and Smart

To convince its victims, the scammers would show supposed valid DTI certificates. They even designate a dedicated customer service representative to message the victims directly if they have queries.

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The cybersecurity experts from PLDTSmart also uncovered another group chat that’s after newcomers. This one, like the former group, are said to use the same script that is usually used by Ponzi scheme marketers to invite victims.

Redoble also said that supposed members who share testimonials that they’ve made money from said investments are accomplices.

They get the money by instructing the victims to transfer the initial amount to a bank account or mobile wallet so they can start participating in the scheme.

After the victims are hooked, they will be asked to complete tasks by clicking links, purchasing items, or watching videos on YouTube that will earn them commissions.

The security team also says that the two groups are asking their victims to invite friends, much like pyramid schemes do.

Redoble said that group membership has different tiers depending on how much the victim is willing to pay. The more expensive the tier is, the bigger the promised returns.

That said, PLDT and Smart said that they have intensified their efforts to prevent such scams. They also blocked thousands of phishing sites.

The group will submit their findings to the National Privacy Commission.

If you want to report suspicious SMS messages, you can reach PLDT-Smart’s cybersecurity group by emailing cybersecurityincidents_customers@smart.com.ph.



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