Scam text messages and what to do when you receive one
Scam text messages are not new to us. We have been receiving a lot of text messages from fraudulent promotions about free stuff and discounts. A good example and most probably the most recent one is from a new postpaid SIM card and then unsolicited text messages you thought your service provider displayed your new mobile number in public.
It would go worst when you get bombarded with these irritating text messages you are not aware you have subscribed with during your application.
How can that be possible? Even our family and friends or even colleagues from work don’t know our new phone number yet and we started to receive these random text messages.
As a consumer, we are sometimes tempted to join promo contests and availing discounts. But of course, we should make sure that these contests we are joining are legitimate, because others are not. They are called “scam”. They are fraudulent business schemes, most probably a swindle and/or a stratagem for gain. And here’s a good example of a scam text message that you might have received last time.
If only this is true. But this is ridiculous.
We did some online research from the Internet and we found a good resource of reporting these scam messages: Department of Trade and Industry or DTI. As you notice, from the promo messages (either scam text messages or not) you are receiving, here in the Philippines, it always ends with this line:
Get the said permit number and go to DTI’s Official website and check if the permit code is valid or otherwise.
DTI also shared a reminder to all those who join contests and promotions to be careful and be very vigilant with giving out your personal information to unknown organizations or establishments. Here below are the 5 tips on “How to Avoid Being Scammed Online” from DTI:
The advent of the Internet has made the lives of people all over the world easier, and has given them an easier means to interact, commune, and transact with one another. On the other hand, the Internet has also given criminals, crooks and malicious individuals another avenue for their dastardly deeds. Scams and other fraudulent activities that used to spread through postage, telephone, and faxes have found that the Internet more than doubles the speed and gives them access to more willing victims all over the world. Most of these online scams proliferating through the internet are just variations of decades-old real world scams, the ease of interaction and funds transfer brought on by the internet just masks it and makes it appealing to newer tech-savvy victims. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid being scammed online:
1. Maintain multiple email accounts. Use an email account for your personal and sensitive transactions and another fake email account for trivial things such as forum registrations, website signups and interaction with individuals that you don’t know personally. Make sure any information attached to the fake email account cannot be traced back to you; use fake names and addresses liberally. This prevents scammers fishing for victims to find out any real data that they can use against you. This also benefits your personal email account because the restrictions in its use severely limits the amount of spam that finds its way into the inbox. A large number of online scams get to people through spam mail.
2. Don’t sign up for every contest you find on the Internet, particularly contests that require you to provide personal info. A lot of online scam perpetrators find their victims through databases gathered from information collecting drives masked under a contest or promo.
3. Don’t be lazy. If there is a bank that is only a few minutes of walking away from your house, go there in person for financial transactions. Don’t rely too much on their online services and be on the lookout for fake phishing websites that ask you to update your bank account details and passwords. Keep in mind that if there is a need to update bank account info, banks will require you to do it in person.
4. If you like to join contests and promos in several places, keep track of everything you’ve joined and their prizes. Make a ledger if possible. This way, if an email shows up in your inbox telling you that you’ve won 2 million pesos, it’ll be easier for you to file it under “scams”.
5. Last, but certainly not the least, don’t be greedy and always remember that anything that seems or sounds too good to be true usually is. People don’t magically become millionaires for no reason at all and they most certainly don’t win it in the same manner. Even people who become millionaires through the lottery had to do some actual work in terms of going out and buying a lottery ticket in person.
Now, before you join these alleged promos and discount contests, please have these text messages verified with DTI to make sure everything runs smoothly.
For more details about this, please visit the Official Department of Trade and Industry website.