A LEGISLATOR has called for an investigation by various government agencies into text message scams offering high-paying jobs.

Quezon City Rep. Alfred D. Vargas filed House Resolution 2378 urging the Department of Information and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to investigate and take legal action following the proliferation of the text messages.

“There have been growing concern and reports of spam, scam, and phishing attempts through circulating text messages which have caused inconvenience and problems to telecommunications customers,” according to a copy of the resolution.

Mr. Vargas also said that these messages violate Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act and also points to the possible illegal sale of data.

He noted that the Anti-Money Laundering Council has found an increased vulnerability to financial scams during the pandemic after it recorded a 57% increase in reports of suspicious transactions in the first eight months of 2020.

The NPC has said the groups behind the text scams might belong to an international crime syndicate and called data privacy officers from telecommunication companies to a meeting to address the growing problem.

The President’s acting spokesman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles also said Monday that the messages are a “cause of concern,” but added that the NTC is investigating the matter.

Senators also said that the spam messages could hinder the government’s pandemic response by encouraging a reluctance to share personal information for contact tracing. — Russell Louis C. Ku