As swindlers continue to victimize consumers by offering lies and deception just to suck in their hardearned money, the Department of Trade and Industry – Lanao del Norte Provincial Office has warned anew the public to be vigilant and be well-informed on text messaging scams.

The warning has to be broadcast again as there were a number of individuals had personally visited DTI and inquired on the authenticity of the text messages they received informing them that they won several hundred thousand pesos, or even a million pesos from a raffle draw facilitated by a foundation or other private group. Others verified the text message they received by calling the DTI landline.

“Since the government alone could not totally end the text scam, and the proposed measures to strengthen the protection of mobile phone subscribers are still hanging, the consuming public should be cautioned not to right away believe on the text messages they received that they won. They must verify this first to appropriate agencies, or to the service providers and not just give in to the demand of the swindlers.”, Provincial Director Ruel B. Paclipan advised.

A text message is not legitimate or a scam when an advisory comes from an 11-digit mobile phone number. According to the telecommunication companies or telcos, authentic advisories are labeled accordingly and will not originate from an unidentified 11-digit mobile phone number.

Other text messages intend to extort money or load credits by tricking the consumers. For example, “Network Advisory: Your postpaid account has been wrongly charged with Php500 for data roaming. To correct this, please text 200 to 2917xxxxxxx. Thank you.”

Another example is the call for help from relative or family member who is in trouble. The “relative” or „family member” allegedly encountered problems while on a trip and requests for some form of monetary assistance often through load credits.

By adding the number “2” before the 10-digit cell phone number of the recipient, the unsuspecting subscriber would have done a Share-A-Load transaction, thus the sum of 200 pesos in the examples above would be transferred or credited to the prepaid number to which the message was sent to.

On winning alleged raffle draws, the public should bear in mind that if they did not join any raffle contest, they should not immediately believe any text message about winning it. The scam aims to trick customers to give them money or load credits in exchange for the non-existent raffle prize.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), a government entity under the Department of Transportation and Communications with a mandate to regulate mobile services, has previously admitted the difficulty in stopping scammers because when they block a certain SIM (subscriber identity module) from sending messages, they can just get a new one.