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Friday, June 14, 2024

Smart warns of ‘fake cell towers’ scam

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Smart Communications Inc. on Monday warned the public about a new scam involving “fake cell towers,” allowing scammers to bypass the telco’s network and send fake text messages directly to subscribers’ phones.

“Our investigation did not find any evidence that these malicious text messages passed through our network,” PLDT and Smart first vice president and group head of corporate communications Cathy Yang said.

“The illegal ‘cell site simulators’ can also spoof or mimic mobile numbers to deceive subscribers into thinking that they’re receiving legitimate text messages,” she said.

While cell site simulators are typically used in disaster-stricken areas as temporary emergency communication platforms, Smart said there is a need for government oversight on the legitimate use of these devices.

Smart said it is working with the government to regulate the use and importation of these types of illegal devices.

The company also engaged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) for collaborative efforts to fight SMShing and other similar fraudulent activities that include the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of scammers.

A few Smart subscribers reported receiving text messages supposedly coming from Smart about expiring rewards points.

Smart said it discovered that the link included in the fraudulent SMS led to a fake Smart website that asked for payment to redeem the rewards points. Smart earlier blocked the phishing domain from being accessed by its subscribers.

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