By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the bill mandating registration of all users of pre-paid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the Senate to enable authorities to easily clampdown those engaged in nefarious and illegal activities.
A number of individuals in the recent months have fallen prey to online fraudsters who used prepaid SIM cards as a tool to carry out their wicked activities, according to Gatchalian.
The senator, who was himself a recent victim of these illegal activities, learned that the perpetrators managed to charge to his credit card account an online food delivery after gaining access to a security feature on web-based services – the One-Time Password (OTP) –using a prepaid mobile phone.
“When fraudsters gain access to OTPs, it’s as if they’re the actual owners of the account doing the transaction,” said Gatchalian.
The senator, who as early as June 30, 2016, filed a bill mandating the registration of all users of pre-paid SIM cards, said it’s now imperative to consider regulating its sale and distribution to help curb unlawful activities. He re-filed the measure in July 2019.
“The boundless stream of supply of prepaid SIM cards has become a magnet of illicit activities since the start of the pandemic. There had been countless cases of online fraudsters who used unregistered mobile numbers,” Gatchalian said.
“Mahalagang may mukha o pangalan sa likod ng mga prepaid SIM cards lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya na kailangan ng contact-tracing. Anong kaibahan kung gagawin nang requirement ang pagre-register ng mga prepaid SIM cards sa requirement na kailangang mag-register sa mga lugar na pinupuntahan mo para sa contact-tracing?” he asked.
Under Senate Bill No. 176 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, end-users of prepaid SIM cards shall be required to present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card. Copies of the accomplished forms shall be furnished to the same service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).