Tougher measures vs cyber crimes amid pandemic pressed
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday called on law enforcement agencies to beef up efforts against online scammers and cyber criminals amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, Gatchalian said that with the health crisis prompting more Filipinos to transact online, cyber criminals “take advantage of preying on vulnerable people as they seek out information and data on the internet.”
“Sa panahon ng pandemya na ang lahat ng Pilipino ay nakatutok sa Internet dahil sa umiiral na community quarantine at social distancing, maraming sindikato ang nagsasamantala upang makapanloko para sa sarili nilang kapakanan,” he said.
(During this time of pandemic when Filipinos are using the internet more due to the community quarantine and social distancing, many syndicates are taking advantage of and profit from the situation.)
“Kaya dapat paigtingin pa ng ating mga awtoridad ang pagbabantay sa iba’t ibang bagong scams na magsusulputan sa panahon ng pandemya upang maprotektahan natin ang ating mga kababayan,” he added.
(That’s why authorities need to beef up efforts and watch out for new scams in order to protect the public).
Gatchalian called for “stricter online monitoring” by authorities and “rigorous” information dissemination on the latest online scams to ensure that potential victims will not fall prey.
He also noted a 100-percent increase in cybercrime activities in the country in April, particularly online scams through phishing.
Gatchalian, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, also cited a May 13 report by TransUnion, a global information and insights company, which showed that suspected fraudulent digital transactions worldwide have increased from March to April 2020.
Gatchalian noted that the report surveyed 9,215 adults surveyed in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, where 29 percent of the respondents said they were targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19.
TransUnion also reported that millennials have been most targeted by fraudsters using COVID-19 scams, the senator added.
Gatchalian then called on the public to exercise vigilance in sharing personal data online, especially information concerning credit card or money transfer.
He also advised the public to look closely at email sender addresses, to be cautious in opening attachments especially coming from unknown sources, and to be suspicious of those who call to verify any pertinent information.
The lawmaker further underscored the need for users to secure their browsers and create a back-up for important files in case of cyberattack.
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