Filipinos have grown more distressed with scam text messages, as the texts they've been receiving recently contain their full names.
In screenshots of these spam texts, the first names of the receiver appear in all caps while only the initial of their last names are used. It usually comes with an offer to earn money and a suspicious shortened link to a website.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and data analyst Edson C. Guido were among the netizens that raised their privacy concerns as more of the personalized spam texts spread.
"Unsolicited or scam text messages on our phones already contain our names. This means that there is a data provider out there that has leaked or sold or been careless about our information. This makes all of us now vulnerable. Very dangerous," Leonen tweeted.
Unsolicited or scam text messages on our phones already contain our names. This means that there is a data provider out there that has leaked or sold or been careless about our information. This makes all of us now vulnerable.— Marvic Leonen — maroon check (@marvicleonen) August 31, 2022
"Yung mga scam text messages ngayon sobrang alarming na. Dati bllinoblock ko lang, pero ngayon pati pangalan ko alam na nila??" Guido said on Facebook. "Kumusta naman yung data privacy natin? Yikes."
Some netizens speculate that since the format of their names in the text is similar to how their GCash usernames, scammers could be searching your name on the e-wallet.
Hey guys so if you have been receiving scam texts with your name on it it could be that they just prompted the number in GCash so they could see what name is that number associated with. Don't fall for these tactics. pic.twitter.com/kBymM78Gxe— kurt (@HarryPawer) August 31, 2022
Others that don't have a GCash account still get these scam messages.
"Yung isang relative ko, never ginamit ang number niya for any app pero nakattanggap pa rin ng message na may full name niya. Yung iba dyan tumatawag pa," Guido shared.
In a Viber message to reporters on Aug. 31, the National Privacy Commission said that it has finished its initial probe into the spam texts and that it will meet with the National Telecommunications Commission and telecommunications firms to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, Globe said in a statement on Wednesday that it has blocked some 784 million scam and spam messages from January to July as well as deactivated 14,058 scam-linked mobile numbers.
"We are complying with its latest order to issue a warning against a new breed of scam messages that bear users’ full names while making fake job offers or cash prizes," it said.
A good practice in dealing with SMS spam is blocking the numbers you received the texts from and making sure not to click or tap on the links in the messages. It's also best to inform your less tech-savvy family members about the scams so they will not fall victim to them.