Gatchalian gives prepaid SIM card registration bill another push
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is again pushing for the passage of the measure seeking the mandatory registration of all users of pre-paid subscriber identity module or SIM cards to better track and clampdown fraudsters.
According to Gatchalian, a number of individuals in recent months have fallen prey to online fraudsters who used prepaid SIM cards as a tool to carry out their illicit activities.
The senator, who was also a recent victim of these illegal activities, learned that the perpetrators managed to charge to his credit card account an online food delivery after gaining access to a security feature on web-based services—the One-Time Password (OTP)—using a prepaid mobile phone.
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“When fraudsters gain access to OTPs, it’s as if they’re the actual owners of the account doing the transaction,” Gatchalian said in a statement Thursday.
The senator said it is now “imperative” to consider regulating SIM card sales and distribution to help curb unlawful activities.
Gatchalian filed a bill mandating the registration of all users of pre-paid SIM cards as early as June 2016. He re-filed the measure in July 2019 after its failed run in Congress.
A number of similar measures have also been filed in both houses of Congress but its passage remains elusive due to data privacy concerns.
“The boundless stream of supply of prepaid SIM cards has become a magnet of illicit activities since the start of the pandemic. There had been countless cases of online fraudsters who used unregistered mobile numbers,” Gatchalian said.
Under Senate Bill No. 176 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, end-users of prepaid SIM cards shall be required to present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card.
Copies of the accomplished forms shall be furnished to the same service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission.
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