In anticipation of an increase of text scams as Christmas approaches, Smart Communications Inc. is fortifying its efforts to protect its subscribers through a customer education campaign and additional security features for its mobile load services.
“Scammers have been misleading our subscribers into transferring load credits to them, by saying the subscribers need to send a particular code to 808, our Pasaload number, in order to get prizes, refunds, discounts, or free prepaid load. Then the scammers would sell this load to others. This is why we decided to institute additional security measures involving Pasaload,” Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto said.
Earlier this year, Smart launched an education campaign to inform subscribers about the modus operandi of unscrupulous scammers. Subscribers can learn more about scams and report scam incidents at www.smart.com.ph/smart2know.
The most common complaints involves Pasaload, a service that allows subscribers to transfer load credits to others.
Smart now requires subscribers to confirm Pasaload requests to make sure they are aware of the transaction. If subscribers send an SMS to 808, Smart sends a message informing them that they are about to transfer load to another person. Load will only be transferred once the subscribers send YES to 808 within 15 minutes.
The same security feature is also now in place for Sun Cellular’s Give-A-Load transactions. If Sun subscribers do not confirm their Give-A-Load request within 15 minutes, the transaction request will expire.
“This is to ensure that subscribers do not transfer load unwittingly. With this additional security feature, we are expecting to further reduce cases of Pasaload scams,” Isberto said.
Isberto also said that Smart continues to coordinate closely with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and police authorities to prevent scammers from victimizing more subscribers.
Smart subscribers are encouraged to report scam attempts and incidents to the company by calling hotline *888 using their mobile phone or sending a message to the @smartcares Twitter account. They may also report scammers to the NTC One Stop Public Assistance Center by calling 9213521 or 9267722, or sending an email to email@example.com.
“We would like to remind our subscribers to be wary of strangers texting or calling them about rewards like raffle prizes. The general rule of thumb is, if you don’t know the person getting in touch with you and if that person or organization is using an 11-digit number, be extra vigilant,” Isberto said.