WHILE people are busy with their holiday shopping, cyber scammers are stepping up their efforts to swindle Filipinos out of their bonuses.
The scammers are also working double time now because the SIM Card Registration Act is expected to take effect on December 27, according to Lt. Michelle Sabino, spokesperson of the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) of the Philippine National Police.
“Liliit na ang mundo nila kasi di na sila makakapanloko,” Sabino told republicasia.
The law would require all existing SIM subscribers, as well as new SIM card users, to register with the relevant public telecommunications entity.
Common cyber scams
Sabino said the most common cybers scams reported this year involve:
-Swindling or estafa to trick people out of their money
-Illegal access to accounts, such as the hacking of Facebook accounts
-Computer related identity theft, which involves the scammer using another person’s identity to ask other people for money
-The use of a stolen SIM card to dupe other people
-Grave threats from those who threaten to expose photos or videos of intimate moments
Sabino shared tips for the public, especially holiday shoppers, to help them avoid losing their bonuses or savings to shady characters.
For those who are transacting online, they must ensure that the person they are talking with is legitimate, she said.
Fake buyers and fake sellers are sure to abound during the holiday season, she warned.
“We don’t encourage online transactions, kasi yung kakilala mo na nga, minsan kaibigan mo, minsan kamag anak mo pa, naloloko ka. Eh di lalo na yung di mo kilala, nakilala mo lang sa internet,” she said.
She also said people should be wary of advertisements for job and investment offers that sound too fantastic. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true, she said.
The same goes for messages claiming they won a raffle prize, she added.
People should also remember not to give out their one time PINs or passwords. This is a basic security precaution, she said.
Those who meet people on Facebook or other social media and dating apps should think twice about sending their intimate photos and videos to the other person.
These could be used against them later, she said.
Keep yourself informed
Sabino said scammers could also be very creative; when the police have detected their usual modus and warned the public about it, they would look for a new strategy to exploit the vulnerability of their targets.
This is why people have to be extra vigilant not to fall for the tricks of these unscrupulous individuals, she said.
She also said the ACG continues to spread public awareness about the strategies of cyber criminals as this is one of the most effective ways of stopping them.
“Kapag ikaw ay informed, kapag ikaw ay aware, kapag nakikita mo itong mga red flags na ito ay hindi ka na maloloko,” she said.