SIM card registration deemed inadequate for fraud deterrence

 SIM card registration deemed inadequate for fraud deterrence

THE MANDATORY registration of mobile SIM cards proposed by legislators is not enough to eradicate text fraud and phishing attacks, an information technology expert said Tuesday.

Edmund Ray O. Milanes, head of Nexus Technologies, Inc.’s Managed Services Group, said that the provisions of Senate Bill 2395 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act “will reduce scams to a certain extent but won’t eliminate them totally.”

The measure will require all telecommunications companies to make the registration of SIM cards a prerequisite to their sale to deter their use in fraud. It would require applicants to submit an electronic registration form and present a valid government-issued identification card (ID) or other documentation as a condition of sale.

“By using unregistered SIM cards, criminal elements can conveniently hide their identities because once the prepaid SIM card is disposed of, there is no way for us to identify the perpetrator,” according to Senator Ronald M. Dela Rosa, a co-sponsor of the bill, speaking during plenary discussions of the bill recently.

The bill is also intended to deter the use of mobile phones in terrorist activity.

Mr. Milanes said via e-mail that registration will only deter and reduce phishing to a certain extent, noting that perpetrators can always “spoof” a phone number in order to frame the registered user of the SIM card.

“An awareness campaign is still the best defense against fraud,” said Mr. Milanes. “Perhaps the government must aggressively launch programs to increase awareness of these types of scams and how to prevent them.”

He said most Filipinos fall prey to phishing, smishing (via short message service or SMS) or vishing (via call). “We need to learn how to reduce our vulnerability to these scams.”

Mr. Milanes said further consultation with telecommunication companies is needed for successful implementation. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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