Smart warns public vs 'Yuletide fraud'

Posted at 12/17/2012 4:47 PM | Updated as of 12/18/2012 8:20 AM

MANILA - Wireless service provider Smart Communications Inc. warned the public on Monday about scams via mobile, text/e-mail and online.

"Don't be duped by Yuletide scam artists," Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) said.

Smart said it has joined forces with the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in mounting "a comprehensive information campaign against fraudulent text, email and e-commerce activities."

Among the scams which Smart warned of are:

OFW Mobile Scam

Smart urged its mobile users, especially OFW beneficiaries, "to take action and report text messages that solicit over-the-air load transfers to an alleged roaming number. Smart discourages its subscribers from immediately acting on load transfer requests, especially when coming from an unknown caller or texter."

Text/Email Scam

Smart urged mobile users "to take action and report text and email messages that solicit donations, electronic load transfers, or cash payments to unknown organizations or 11-digit mobile numbers." Smart told its subscribers "that valid Smart prize notifications will not require cash nor load transfers" and that "Smart promo winners are usually notified via a three- or four-digit number or a Smart sender ID, via official telegram, or via a phone call coming from a "7777" number.:

Budol-budol/ Dugo-dugo Scam

Smart also reminded the public to be vigilant against fraudulent texts or calls that ask for "emergency money." In this scam, the company said "Scammers would pretend to be a family member or a relative, and ask victims to deposit cash to various bank or e-money accounts. The cash is supposed to help the caller during an emergency overseas situation or an accident requiring immediate medical attention. To avoid falling victim to scammers and losing hard-earned money, text messages or calls from unknown cellphone numbers should be double-checked and confirmed."

Online Scams

Smart also advised the public to "take precautionary measures when engaging in online shopping activities via e-commerce or social media sites."

"Scammers would usually sell merchandise at bargain prices, require payments via bank or mobile money transfers, give out fictitious courier tracking numbers, and fail to ship purchased goods. To prevent being duped by online scammers, consumers are advised to keep their bank and mobile money details private, and to transact only with reputable online sellers. A good measure of trusted online merchants and sites are those with consistent positive transaction reviews and websites URLs beginning with <https:///," it added.

When in doubt, Smart said subscribers should call the following hotlines:

751-3330 (for DTI);
921-3251 or 926-7722 (for the NTC), or
888-1111 (for Smart) via any landline, to verify questionable text or email messages.

Subscribers may also dial *888 via any Smart cellphone. For Smart Money concerns, account holders may contact 15177 via Smart mobile phones, or 845-7777 via landline.