A woman lost P41,000 from her bank account after a scammer posed as her boyfriend and got a replacement SIM for her phone number. Her Facebook account was also allegedly hacked as a result of the SIM replacement scheme.
According to the woman named “Chia,” she received text messages and calls on December 26, 2017 from a scammer, telling her that he wrongfully sent P30 prepaid credits or load to her. The next day, the scammer instructed her to set her phone to “flight mode” to facilitate the return of the prepaid load. The woman then complied with the instructions.
A few hours later, the woman switched off flight mode and discovered that her phone’s network signal has not returned to normal.
The woman then called the Globe customer hotline and was shocked to know that someone posed as her boyfriend and requested for a SIM replacement, saying that her mobile phone was lost. The man showed an affidavit of loss as proof.
Later that day, the victim discovered that P41,000 was stolen from her payroll account at Metrobank. Her Facebook account was also hacked and her social media name and pictures were replaced.
The victim was unhappy with the ease at which the scammer replaced her SIM card using the SIM replacement scheme. She was also angry at how easily the perpetrator gained access to her bank account.
The incident was reported to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Special Action Unit, who pinpointed the suspect using the identification card and documents he submitted to Globe. The NBI also requested Globe and Metrobank to explain if it’s possible for the suspect to withdraw the victim’s money from her bank account using her phone number.
The NBI said that it’s possible that the woman was a victim of a phishing scam. Phishing involves creating fake websites to extract personal and financial information such as bank account numbers and passwords.
Globe said that they are cooperating with the authorities and reiterated their commitment to protecting their customers’ data privacy and security. They also reminded their customers to avoid giving away personal information to strangers.
“Globe Telecom is working closely with the proper authorities, who are investigating this incident. Operationally, our Globe stores have existing protocols for SIM replacement that are meant to protect our customers. However, if a customer’s identity has already been compromised, then those protocols will be negated. We encourage customers to refrain from disclosing vital personal information via social media and other online accounts to protect themselves from fraudulent online activities. In today’s digital age, netizens are responsible for their own online security and wellbeing,” a statement from Globe said.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Online Scams
Thousands of people every year fall victim to online scams. Don’t be a statistic! Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of online scams:
- Verify the authenticity or legitimacy of a product or service before paying for it. You can use Google to search for reviews of said product or service, using the keyword “(product name) scam.”
- Avoid giving away personal information to strangers you’ve met online.
- Don’t entertain strangers sending you a text or SMS message asking for a favor, such as returning a mistakenly sent prepaid load.
- Don’t open or read suspicious emails from people you don’t know or from companies you haven’t subscribed to. Usually, these emails are sent to the Spam or Junk folder in your email account.
- Don’t open or read emails purportedly sent from your bank, and do not click on any links from such emails. Banks do not send emails asking you to log in to your account and enter your password.
- Use a very strong password for your online accounts. A combination of letters, numbers and symbols is recommended.
- Practice due diligence. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
If you fall victim to an online scam, don’t hesitate to report the incident to your local authorities immediately. Gather all evidences to support your claim and submit them for investigation.
Source: ABS-CBN News
Photo credit: Tony Webster