DICT urges shopping victims to report online scammers
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday called on online shoppers to report scammers so that they can be tracked down, penalized, and prevented from victimizing other people.
Speaking at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing, the DICT spokesperson Assistant Secretary Renato Paraiso said online scammers should be reported through the hotline 1326 set up by the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
Paraiso said personnel manning the hotlines would document the scam and communicate with service providers and platform hosts to block the scammers’ websites and accounts.
“But it’s more important to us to hold the scammer liable. So apart from really blocking the websites, we identify the individuals behind them so that they can be held liable,” he said.
The DICT official said scammers are expected to be active in the holiday season, so online shoppers must have “good cybersecurity hygiene” to protect themselves, especially their privacy, financial records, and hard-earned money.
Paraiso said good cybersecurity hygiene can simply be achieved by changing passwords of online applications and membership accounts from time to time and by avoiding clicking suspicious links.
According to him, Filipinos should also educate and update their knowledge on digitalization and the so-called internet of things. He said aside from passwords, there are other means of protecting one’s online accounts from hackers, such as fingerprint and face recognition and multistep verification.
12 scams of Christmas
He said the CICC, in coordination with the advocacy group Scam Watch Pilipinas, earlier unveiled the “12 Scams of Christmas” to make the public more aware and vigilant about online scams.
The 12 scams are fake shipping and delivery notifications, fake online charity solicitations, fake shopping websites, fake sellers, bogus “free trial” on goods and services, phony electronic “Christmas gift cards,” fake tech support notices from bank or mobile wallet apps, “crypto” investment offers by nonexistent or nonregistered entities, fake messages from relatives and friends, “love” or dating scams, spurious foreign exchange investment deals and fake loan offers.