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PLDT, Smart block over 400 domains linked to SMS scams


PLDT Inc. And subsidiary Smart Communications blocked over 400 domains linked to websites used by criminals to target victims in text messaging scams.

The group said in a statement that as of Nov. 24, this prevented more than 16,000 attempts to open websites being used by fraudsters to steal personal data from victims and gain access to their financial accounts.

“Fraudsters ask you to register on these websites and link your mobile wallet. Just like digital pyramid schemes, they entice you to progressively invest bigger amounts by dangling bigger commissions,” Angel T. Redoble, chief information security officer of PLDT and Smart’s cybersecurity operations group, said in a statement.

“But after some time, they’ll hostage your investment, preventing you from cashing out your money unless you put in more money,” he added.

Redoble’s unit earlier revealed the scam, which typically takes the form of a job offer to unsuspecting victims, was being orchestrated by a globally organized criminal organization.

These messages usually ask customers to click a link to a WhatsApp account.

“The SMS are being sent by syndicate members operating locally. Once customers tap on the WhatsApp link, they are brought to a chat room where fraudsters based in another country engage them in real time,” Redoble said.

PLDT-Smart said the group also notified web hosting companies of the fraudulent domains being used to scam Filipinos.

Thus far, Smart has blocked at least 19,000 mobile numbers believed to be tied to the illegal operation.

Redoble reiterated that mobile users should exercise caution when interacting with anonymous messages and individuals.

“Be suspicious of job offers when you haven’t applied for one or of winning the grand prize in a raffle that you don’t remember joining. The bottom line is, they are going to steal your money and we have proven that,” he said.


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