Beware of ‘smishing’ scammers using Lacson’s name, “ayuda” as bait—Partido Reporma

Beware of ‘smishing’ scammers using Lacson’s name, “ayuda” as bait—Partido Reporma

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has not been spared from the rash of “smishing” scammers or those using text messaging to extract personal information for nefarious ends.

In a statement, Partido Reporma urged the public not to respond to such dubious messages, whether through SMS (short messaging service) or messaging apps, as Lacson – a former national police chief – would never authorize or condone such practice.

The longtime public servant has also called on the National Privacy Commission to look more closely into attempts at digital vote-buying in the run-up to the May 9, 2022 elections, calling it a threat not just to the electoral system but to democracy itself.

In a picture uploaded on social media over the weekend, a victim of the scam showed a screenshot of a message from a person who introduced himself as a member of Lacson’s family.

The message sender said he was sending “ayuda” (cash aid) and the person targeted only needed to send his personal information to receive the supposed funding.

“This is from Ping Lacson Family. Can you please claim your Ayuda’s from our Fam?,” the scammer’s text message read.

“Note: If you are interested to get that pls. reply your real name and followed by your complete address. Thank You,” the message added.

Based on the screenshot, after the victim sent his personal information, the scammer no longer replied.

Smishing or SMS phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending text messages, purporting to be from reputable companies or persons, to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, or in this case home addresses.

In the Philippines, authorities have listed phishing as the top cybercrime for years now. Smishing attacks are delivered by both traditional text messaging and non-SMS messaging apps. These attacks spread fast and are often unnoticeable due to their deceptive nature. (ai/mtvn)

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