Privacy body, other agencies urged to stop texts on fake job offers

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MANILA, Philippines — If you’ve received text messages from unfamiliar numbers offering jobs, your data may have been breached or sold.

The chair of the Senate labor committee on Monday pressed the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to investigate what he described as the “epidemic of text scams,” following complaints from mobile phone subscribers receiving phony job offers via text.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the apparent rise in robo texts being blasted to mobile phone users could be the “forbidden fruit of a data breach or data sale somewhere.”

“This is the new budol (scam) in town,” the senator said in a statement.

‘Intrusion’

He called on the NPC to coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission “on how this illegal and irritating intrusion into one’s privacy can be stopped.”

He said the robo texts could be considered a variant of fake news, as many Filipinos are currently in search of job opportunities amid the financial challenges of the pandemic.

“In a nation where unemployment and digital disinformation are high, these kinds of messages can mislead many. Many of our people, especially those looking for jobs, will be swindled,” Villanueva said.

He added that robo texts are illegal and unscrupulous, especially in enticing text recipients with job offers from abroad.

Text offers on overseas jobs “violate laws in labor placement, an activity that is tightly regulated by the government to shield job seekers from being victimized by illegal recruiters,” the senator said.

He asked government agencies and telecommunications companies to work together in preventing citizens from being victimized by “smishing,” a form of text-message phishing through which criminals lure consumers into sharing personal or financial information.

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