Sunday, May 26, 2024

NPC warns public on sale of pre-registered SIM cards

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) issued on Thursday, Aug. 31, an advisory to the public against the practice of registering SIM cards for the primary intention of selling them.

The privacy body said it has observed alarming instances wherein certain individuals, ostensibly acting as agents of malevolent entities, are enticing unsuspecting individuals with monetary offers as much as P1,000 in exchange for SIM cards that have been registered.

“This practice is not only prohibited under the SIM Registration Act (RA 11934) but it also places data subjects in a vulnerable position, exposing them to potential legal repercussions, risks and harms if a SIM card, registered in their name, is misused for illicit activities,” the NPC said.

To this end, the NPC said the public can protect themselves as a subscriber and data subject by considering the following steps:

  1. Awareness: Educate yourself about the legal and privacy implications of registering and selling SIM cards. Familiarize yourself with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its provisions.
  2. Vigilance: Be cautious of unsolicited offers to purchase your registered SIM card. Scrutinize the intentions behind such offers and verify the credibility of the individuals making them.
  3. Report suspicious activities: If you are approached with offers to sell your registered SIM card, report such incidents to your telecommunications service provider. Timely reporting can help prevent potential misuse of your personal data.
  4. Reporting change of information with the telecommunications companies: Promptly report any changes in the information of the subscriber (end-user) so that the telcos can update their database in accordance with the SIM Registration Act.
  5. Identity verification: Before transferring ownership of a SIM card, ensure that proper identity verification procedures are followed. This can help prevent unauthorized transfers.
  6. Legal compliance: If you decide to sell or transfer a registered SIM card, adhere to the legal requirements for reporting such transactions as required under the SIM Registration Act.

The SIM Registration Act provides severe penalties shall upon those involved in the sale or transfer of a registered SIM without complying with required registration or without properly informing the telco concerned.

More specifically, under Section 11 (g) of the same law, individuals found guilty of selling or transferring a registered SIM card without complying with the required registration under Section 6 of the same law may be subject to imprisonment ranging from six months to six years, or a fine of P100,000 to P300,000 or both.

“The NPC earnestly urges all data subjects to take heed of this advisory and to remain vigilant against participating in any actions that may put at risk their personal data,” it said.

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