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Beware of Yuletide fraud and scam, Smart warns

“Don’t be duped by Yuletide scam artists,” warned leading wireless services provider, Smart Communications (Smart) as it stepped up efforts to educate the public on mobile and internet fraud this Christmas season. Smart has joined forces with the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to mount a comprehensive information campaign against fraudulent text, email and e-commerce activities.

The campaign involves the roll-out of instructional materials on Smart’s corporate website and Smart stores found in various parts of the country. Smart has also mounted sustained training programs for its frontliners and aftersales representatives to help act on customer concerns on fraudulent mobile and online transactions.

To help protect the public fraud this Yuletide season, Smart warns its subscribers against the following:

OFW Mobile Scam
Smart urges 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 urges 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. For its part, Smart assures its subscribers that valid Smart prize notifications will not require cash nor load transfers. 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 reminds the public to be vigilant against fraudulent texts or calls that ask for “emergency money.” 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
The public is also advised 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://.

In addition to actively educating consumers, Smart assures the public that it will continue to step up its efforts in protecting Smart subscribers from fraudulent activities. For instance, as a safeguard against online scams, Smart developed the world’s first mobile-based internet security solution, which allows Smart Money users to complete online purchases, only after unlocking their Smart Money accounts via their Smart mobile phones.

Smart’s mobile commerce platform has also been designed to work closely with financial institutions which provide assurances that the necessary system safeguards are in place, and that the Anti-money Laundering Act (AMLA) standards and procedures are complied with. Smart employees and frontliners also undergo relevant AMLA training as part of the company’s anti-fraud campaign.

When in doubt, subscribers are advised to 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.

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