Senate committee set to investigate ‘nakaw-load’

Rambo Talabong

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Senate committee set to investigate ‘nakaw-load’

Alecs Ongcal

'Let us not allow our countrymen to be victims of theft,' says Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV as his committee is set to probe the 'nakaw-load' scheme

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Science and Technology is set to probe the “nakaw-load” (stolen load) scheme, which involves unexplained deductions in prepaid mobile loads, in a hearing Monday, March 5.

“Let us not allow our countrymen to be victims of theft. We cannot ignore these consumer reports of the disappearance of prepaid mobile credits, including mischarges, hidden charges, and errors in opt-out mechanisms,” said Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV in a statement Sunday, March 4.

Aquino chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

He earlier filed Senate Resolution 595, directing his panel to determine if the Department of Information and Communications Technology and other agencies can implement rules to protect prepaid mobile subscribers.

What is nakaw load? Telecommunications giant Globe Telecom earlier explained that “nakaw-load” happens when prepaid subscribers get load deductions for availing of value-added services (VAS) while streaming online.

“Unknown load deductions happen when customers click on an online advertisement link or button of VAS providers,” Globe said in a statement on Friday.

Globe said customers should get a verification code via SMS on how to avail of the VAS, and then another SMS for successful subscription with cancellation instructions.

There are instances, however, when partners circumvent the rule, automatically enrolling the customers without consent.

Why it matters: The Philippines has more phone subscriptions than it has people, registering almost 120 million subscriptions as of 2016.

Around 95% of them are prepaid subscriptions, all vulnerable to “nakaw-load” schemes. – with a report from Chris Schnabel/Rappler

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.