MANILA (Philippines Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): The SIM Registration Act is said to be the way to curb scams, but since the mandated listing started, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said there are new crooked schemes related to the registration that Filipinos should avoid.
Based on the latest data from the NTC, 17,115,910 SIM cards, or 10.13 per cent of the 168,977,773 existing cards in the Philippines, had already been registered as of 11:59pm on Tuesday (Jan. 10).
Almost three weeks since the listing started, Smart Communications Inc (Smart) has already registered 8,037,862 SIM cards, while Globe Telecom Inc (Globe) has 7,556,037. DITO Telecommunity Corp. (DITO) has listed 1,522,011.
The latest numbers reflect a big spike from the 3,319,005 registered SIM cards in the first two days of the mandated registration last year — Smart (1,019,207), Globe (1,769,374), and DITO (530,424).
According to the NTC, Smart has already registered 11.82 per cent of its 67,995,734 subscribers, while Globe’s 7,556,037 registered SIM cards translate to 8.60 per cent of 87,873,936.
DITO, meanwhile, has listed 11.61 per cent of its 13,108,103 subscribers.
But while registration numbers continued to rise, the NTC and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) issued serious warnings against new scams that could victimise Filipinos who intend to register their SIM cards.
> There’s no pre-registration process
Last Dec. 23, the DICT said there were email messages supposedly sent by telecommunications companies to their subscribers regarding the SIM Registration Act, which was implemented starting on Dec 27.
The email messages tell subscribers with registered accounts with their provider’s virtual and mobile payment applications that their accounts are being restricted in line with the law and will only be reactivated through a supposed pre-registration process.
However, the DICT and NTC advised the public to exercise caution on the email messages, stressing that subscribers should not provide personal details to the senders or click on links included.
> There’s no SIM card registration fee
The NTC said on Wednesday (Jan. 11) that there are some individuals online who are asking for fees in exchange for assistance in SIM card registration, but “the public should not engage with them.”
It was reiterated by the NTC that subscribers should be cautious in dealing with these scammers, saying that providing personal details to someone can lead to identity theft, hacking of mobile banking applications, and other cybercrimes.
This, as the SIM card listing requires the registrant to provide his or her name, age, address, mobile number, photo, and a government issued identification (ID) card, like passport, driver’s license, and voter’s ID.
The NTC said pursuant to Section 6 of the law, the registration shall be implemented at no cost to end-users, while telecommunications companies are mandated to ensure that all data are secure and protected.
As stated by the NTC, SIM card registration assistance services will be made available at retail and service centers of the telecommunications companies.
> Don’t buy pre-registered SIM cards
One of NTC’s latest warnings is about registered SIM cards being sold in the black market, advising the public not to buy any pre-registered cards.
NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan told ABS-CBN News that the person registered for the SIM card will be the one liable in case the card was used for crimes.
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