MANILA, PHILIPPINES — SIM card-aided crimes nearly tripled during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year before the implementation of the SIM Card Registration Act.
Data from the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) showed that from January to June this year, the number of financial crimes and online scams skyrocketed to 4,104 in comparison to only 1,415 during the same period in 2022.
In Metro Manila alone, however, the cases rocketed to 152% for the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year, from 2,477 to 6,250.
Almost all cases of SIM card-related crimes were online scams involving electronics wallet apps such as GCash, PayMaya, and Coins.ph
A total of 3,587 of these crimes were perpetrated using GCash, 49 with PayMaya and four with Coins.ph.
Based on the same report, 445 of these SIM card-aided crimes involved bank frauds, while 18 were text scams.
The PNP-ACG report was issued just days before the July 25 deadline for SIM card registration set by the national government.
The SIM Card Registration Act took effect in December 2022. The law requires all mobile phone users to register their SIM cards with their personal information, including their name, address and government ID number.
In addition, data from the National Telecommunications Commission showed that from December 27, 2022 to July 6, 2023, there were 102, 062, 372 registered SIM cards. That is a total of 168,016,400 SIMs sold in the country.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has been actively promoting awareness of the SIM Card Registration Act and encouraging people to register their SIM cards.
The agency has also been collaborating with telecommunication companies to streamline and simplify the registration process.
The law’s goal is said to be a crucial step toward creating a safer and more secure Philippines.
However, PNP ACG Director Police Brigadier General Sydney Hernia said the rise is part of the worldwide trend.
“This is a natural effect of almost all people now using the internet,” he said. – WhatALife!/Val