Over the last couple of weeks, you might have been receiving a lot of text messages from unknown numbers offering you this latest promo or that job opportunity or even just winning some kind of contest you never signed up for. These are all spam texts, a.k.a. unsolicited messages, usually commercial (sometimes a phishing scam), sent to a list of numerous recipients in one go. And unfortunately, your number is included in that list.
Have you been receiving a flood of spam messages?
You’re not alone. Many netizens took to social media to express their frustration over the increase of spam messages, with others sharing the same sentiments over similar experiences.
— ross tugade (@rosselle) November 17, 2021
So about those spam texts we’ve been getting — I actually tried clicking the links. They opened WhatsApp chats, so then I baited the accounts to give me more info on their scheme. Here’s what I got: pic.twitter.com/zBsvL2zc16
— JL Javier (@jltjavier) November 18, 2021
Is anyone looking into this?
Telecom networks Globe and Smart have both put out advisories regarding this issue. The networks, along with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), have continuously advised subscribers about how to protect their privacy.
Here are some tips to follow to protect yourself against spam messages and calls:
Tip #1: Do NOT reply
Frustration might make you want to reply and tell them to stop. And you might have seen others replying in creative ways (e.g. pretending to be a spammer themselves to trick the spammer), but you shouldn’t do that. It just tells them that your phone number is active, inviting them to flood you with even more messages.
Tip #2: Do not provide any personal information
Is the text asking you to send your name, address, and other details? Is it telling you to reach out to them through another contact information? Don’t give out your private information. You don’t know the people on the other end of the text, and you don’t know what they’ll use your information for.
Tip #3: Do not click any links
Links in spam messages would often lead to a webpage that would be able to get your information through your phone, maybe even without your permission. This is called smishing, or a type of phishing scam that uses text messages to trick users to reveal personal information. So make sure not to open any links from unknown numbers.
Tip #4: Block
Use the block function as much as you want. It’s there for a reason.
For Android users, simply go to ‘Settings’ and enable ‘Caller ID & Spam.’ This will filter messages and calls that look like spam (usually from unregistered numbers) to a different folder.
For iPhone users, open ‘Settings’, choose ‘Messages’, and enable ‘Filter Unknown Senders.’ Messages from unknown numbers will be placed in a separate folder where you can filter them accordingly, while calls from unknown numbers will be silenced.
Tip #5: Report
Each time you receive a spam text or call, note the number down and report them to the proper authorities. For Globe subscribers, you can submit such reports via globe.com.ph/stop-spam.. Other subscribers may report incidents to the NTC via their website
Tip #6: Set up a separate email account
For instances where you can’t avoid providing your contact information, use an email account separate from your personal and professional ones. This would help you filter out the promotions, contests, and even phishing attempts much more easily.