Globe, NBI zeroing in on SIM swap scammers

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An official of Globe Telecoms and an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are investigating intricacies of the SIM card swap scam modus operandi in a bid to discover how the suspects use their technical savvy to access bank accounts of their target victims.

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Carlos Neypes, Globe’s head of the Security Anti-Fraud and Investigation Department, on Tuesday went to the NBI and met with agent Anna Lira Labao to untangle the modus operandi.

Among the details under scrutiny, according to Neypes, are cellphone numbers, Facebook and other social media and Internet Protocol (IP) address that are among the items being considered for link analysis.

“We are establishing the connection between the suspect and the victim,” he said, adding that the moment the SIM card is changed at any Globe store, the information in the new SIM card is blank or zero.

Neypes said the investigation is centered on how the suspect was able to get vital information about the target victim.

Last July 2, Ian Caballeros claimed that his post-paid phone had suddenly stopped working.

Caballeros then called the SM North Globe store and sought explanation.
He was told that somebody went to the outlet store and was issued a new SIM card.

Caballeros, a call center agent, said he had not authorized anybody to transact business for him and immediately asked the store to identify the impostor through their closed-circuit television footage.

He added that he was so worried because he was using his email for money transfers.

Globe, upon hearing the predicament of Caballero, disabled the new SIM card issued to the impostor.

It was learned later that somebody attempted to transfer P48,000 from Caballeros’ BDO account to another’s Security Bank account.

Caballeros then turned to the media for help.

“But the issue turned wild after Caballeros was interviewed on nationwide radio and he came here to the NBI to file a complaint,” Neypes said.

He clarified that Globe did nothing wrong in replacing the SIM card because the impostor presented valid documents.

“What is important now is to discover how the impostor was able to get the documents like two IDs of Caballeros and authorization letter,” Neypes said.

He added that he believes the impostor was not alone in the scam.

“At least two persons are helping him gather the information,” Neypes said.

Globe Telecoms and NBI investigators have identified the impostor.

Neypes and Labao, however, refused to divulge his name to The Manila Times, saying it might derail the probe.

They said they have the impostor’s pictures and that the CCTV footage is intact.

Neypes said the impostor knew his victims and their email addresses, cellphone numbers and bank account numbers, among others.

“His victims are his co-employees and former office mates. His group has access to the personal information of their target victims,” he added.

The moment all other details are documented, Neypes said, appropriate charges will be filed against the impostor and his accomplice.

Among the possible charges are violation of Republic Act 8484 or Access Device Law and estafa, which are bailable.

But if found guilty, the accused could be sentenced to not less than six years and a maximum of 12 years in prison aside from damages and other penalties.

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