Protecting consumers: DICT mulls SIM card cap amid rising text scam cases

In a bid to counter the escalating cases of text scams plaguing the country, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced its intention to impose a limit on the number of SIM cards that a prepaid subscriber can register.

Speaking at the Cybersphere Philippines Forum 2023, Alexander Ramos, executive director of DICT’s Cybercrime Investigation Coordinating Center, emphasized the urgency of the situation: “It’s alarming in a sense that every day we experience it. Our estimate, based on our study since November, shows that for every one hijacked account, there are at least 10 successful online financial crimes.”

Ramos further estimated potential losses to cybercrime ranging from approximately P50,000 to P500,000 per account.

To tackle the rising tide of text scams amid SIM card registration, Ramos revealed that DICT is collaborating with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to draft guidelines aimed at limiting the number of SIM cards that can be registered per subscriber.

“We detected 600 registered SIMs under one name. So, it’s abnormal for a prepaid subscriber to have more than 10 SIM cards registered under one name,” Ramos said.

The government is considering restricting the number of registered SIM cards to at least 10.

“They [telecom companies] find 10 to be reasonable, but for us, it’s only four to five because that’s the average number of SIMs in the prepaid market,” he added.

According to NTC data, a total of 113.969 million SIM cards were registered as of July 30, marking the conclusion of the SIM card registration process.

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