The Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO) has issued a warning regarding the increasing number of scam messages sent to mobile phone users, which are able to bypass telecommunication networks.

According to the PCTO, these new scam messages manage to evade telecommunication network filters by using chat apps, Rich Communication Services (RCS) chats for Android users, and other internet-based messaging platforms.

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Because of this, even if the mobile number originates from abroad, scammers can still send messages to mobile numbers in the Philippines.

Other fraudsters use International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers or fake cell towers to target mobile users in a specific location.

These portable devices mimic cell towers to infiltrate mobile communication in a particular area, thereby allowing scammers to directly connect to SIM cards and send messages via fake sender IDs, including official accounts. According to the PCTO, this practice is known as spoofing, which also avoids telecommunication network filtering.

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Spoofing is one of the most difficult practices for mobile users to detect because scammers are able to send SMS messages that appear to be official advisories from trusted companies or government agencies.

When the recipient clicks on the link, they are redirected to malicious online pages.

The PCTO is calling for a stricter collaboration among the telecommunications industry, government agencies, and even citizens themselves to prevent and eliminate these fraudulent practices.