Villar chides NTC for failure to stop text scam proliferation
Senator Cynthia Villar gave officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a dressing-down on Wednesday for its failure to stop the proliferation of text scams that defraud consumers, including the senator’s own foundation.
An irate Villar opened the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the proliferation of text scams, scolding the NTC officials for its failure to act on her complaint two years ago against unscrupulous individuals and group, who were using the name of the Villar Foundation Inc, in their modus operandi.
“A few years ago pa may kumakalat na mga text messages na sinasabing nanalo kayo diumano sa raffle draw ng Villar Foundation at humihingi ng mga kung ano-anong fees para sa registration o documentation at iba pa (There have been spreading text messages a few years ago that say you won in a raffle of Villar Foundation and subsequently ask for fees for registration or documentation, among others),” she said in her opening statement.
“We have issued warnings on social media as well as print media about that text scam. Manny and I have even sought the help of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation). My constituents and other concerned citizens have e-mailed, called, and contacted us to report these scam messages. We have kept a record of the texts they received.”
“Patuloy pa rin ito at marami na rin nabiktima at nagbigay ng pera sa mga pasimuno ng text scam. Hindi naman naming pwede i-reimburse ang lahat ng mga nabiktima. Pero patuloy naman ang aming pag-warn sa kanila (These scam messages persist and a lot of people were victimized and they gave money to the scam perpetrators. We can’t reimburse all who were victimized but we continue to warn them). We inform people that we do not have such raffles and we do not give away cash, we only provide assistance in kind,” the senator added.
Villar said she already reported the matter to the NTC as early as 2012 but it has not acted on the complaint until now.
“Alam mo tawag ako ng tawag sa NTC, kinausap ko pa si Sec. Coloma para kausapin kayo na gumawa kayo ng paraan dyan (You know I have been calling NTC, I spoke to Sec. Coloma to talk to you so you can do something about the scam messages),” she said. “Two years walang gumawa ng paraan, lalong guma-grabe, ano ba yan? Bakit kayo nandyan? Wala kayong magawa? Bakit wala ba talagang solusyon ito? (It has been two years yet not one acted on it, the scam messages even worsened, what is happening? Why are you there? You can’t do anything about it? Is there really no solution to this?)”
“Ayan kadami dami nyan. Araw araw, bwisit na buwist na ako sa tumatawag sa akin na araw araw niloloko sila dyan sa text scam na yan. Dalawang taon na yan from 2013 hanggang ngayon. Ano ba yan aabot sa 2019?”
(There are numerous scam messages. Every day, I’m pissed off because people are calling me that they are fooled by those scam messages. It has been two years from 2013 until now. Will that continue until 2019?)
Villar warned that Congress will pass a law to require the mandatory registration of pre-paid SIM cards if the NTC could not solve the problem.
She said that scam messages are disguised as raffle winnings, promotional advertisements, or notices of accidental load transfers or account charges.
“Some messages even appear to be a text coming from a loved one abroad, banking on the fact that most Filipino families have at least one family member, who is an OFW (overseas Filipino worker),” she said.
There are text messages, she said, that deceive recipient into believing that they were sent by telecommunications companies.
The senator said the most common modus is the electronic raffle text scams that deceive the recipient into thinking that he or she has won an e-raffle from a certain government agency, company, or foundation.
In this scam, she said, the recipient would have to call a certain representative to know what he or she has to do to claim the prize.
“Usually, when the victim calls the so-called representative, the victim will be instructed to transfer certain amounts of money before he or she can claim the prize,” she said. Maila Ager/RAM
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