Group calls on gov’t to create ‘secure digital space’ amid rampant scams online
MANILA, Philippines — As the number of victims of cybercrime, particularly online frauds, continue to climb, a consumer group called on the government and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to create safe cyberspace for Filipinos and aggressively go after scammers and perpetrators of abuse on the internet.
Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3) convener Louie Montemar said Wednesday that if the government targets to advance Filipino’s digital readiness, it should ensure “secure digital space” especially now that digital payments and transactions surged by over 5,000 percent during the pandemic as indicated by data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“We must remain vigilant against the growing threat of online scams. BK3 denounces cybercrime in all of its forms and calls on all governments, the digital technology industry, NGOs (non-government organizations), and CSOs (civil society organizations) to unite in purging the internet of scammers and other perpetrators of exploitation and abuse,” he stressed in a statement.
Montemar pointed out that consumers nowadays rely on online connectivity for daily transactions and needs.
“Unfortunately, the exponential rise of online transactions has created a borderless hunting ground for unscrupulous criminals to prey on consumers who have just started to learn their way around the online platforms,” he noted.
While he was happy with recent reports of internet speed improvement in the country, Montemar explained that digital readiness does not end with fast internet speeds and infrastructure build-up.
“It is equally important to have a secure digital space where online users and consumers are safe from scams such as phishing, smishing, and other schemes that target credit card holders and e-wallet users,” he said.
“We strongly encourage more proactive interventions from the private sector, such as the Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) of Globe Telecom in partnership with the Department of Education, which integrates modules on digital citizenship, online safety, and responsible use of technology in the curriculum,” he added.
Montemar then urged the government to further engage with the private sector — telecommunication companies and internet service providers — in a sustaining information and communications campaign to educate the public in recognizing the deceptive tactics of cybercriminals “such as smishing where text messages from people pretending to be from reputable companies are tricking consumers into revealing personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers.”
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