The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) is warning the public against various online scams while on travel while commemorating All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
CICC Executive Director Undersecretary Alexander Ramos said that cyber criminals usually take advantage of public holidays when people are away. “We want the public to be more vigilant against various online scam activities especially when we are out of our homes,” Ramos said.
Caution Against Open and Unsecured Wi-Fi
Connecting to an open and unsecured Wi-Fi network can put any device at risk which can access personal information as hackers can use data to control the devices and steal identity and even money.
CICC is advising the public to avoid using public Wi-Fi and use mobile networks instead. “People enjoy accessing these open Wi-Fi because they are free without realizing that their open and unsecured nature also makes them vulnerable to attackers,” Ramos said.
Ramos explained that gadgets can be susceptible to Man-in-The-Middle (MTM) attacks through open Wi-Fi connections. “An attacker will intercept the communication flow between your handsets and browser and steal information and potentially allow your device to be hijacked,” Ramos said.
Fake e-wallet apps and fake customer service
Fake e-wallet apps which are apps that look like legitimate e-wallet apps but are actually created by scammers are also widespread. “Scammers can access your real e-wallet credentials if you download and install a fake e-wallet app. The public must download e-wallet from legitimate app stores,” Ramos revealed.
Fake customer service numbers which are fake phone numbers, email addresses or even FB Messenger chat pretending to be banks and e-wallet companies are also rampant. “These fake customer service channels will target your personal information and money. Always check the source of the channel if it’s legitimate or not,” he said.
Tech support scams
Another form of online scam is fake tech support where scammers will call to scare you that there is a problem with your account be it online banking, e-commerce site, or e-wallet in order to get your personal information.
“Ignore calls from numbers you don’t know involve scammers calling you and claiming to be from your e-wallet provider. The scammers will claim that there is a problem with your account and that they need your personal information to fix the problem. However, the scammers will simply steal your personal information and money.
Expect more phishing scam emails and text messages that can appear from legitimate companies which can contain a link to a fake website that looks like their actual websites. Clicking the link can compromise your banking, e-wallet, and e-commerce accounts.
“Never click links from unknown emails or text messages because these are phishing scams that can lead to account takeover by stealing personal information, account name, and passwords. Worse, many may also include malware,” he added.
Fake Online Shopping Stores
Now that the Christmas season has begun, Ramos also warned the public to be careful of fake online shopping stores on e-commerce sites and social media with fake products. “Never believe a too good to be true sales offers. If the product is too cheap then it must be fake or worse, it does not exist. Always check the legitimacy of the seller and never transact outside the e-commerce site,” he said.
Be on the watch for deceptive emails and text messages about intercepted package delivery to make people into giving personal details, money, and data by tricking them into clicking a link or attachment with malware.
“Always verify the sender or email address. Make sure that you don’t schedule a delivery when you are not home. Never entertain messages or calls from unknown senders,” he said.
The most traditional way of scamming that translated into online is the Dugo-dugo Gang where criminals would call the house to report of an accident of the homeowners that would require some money. “This is the most conventional that continues to victimize a lot of people. People left in the should always have a way to contact the homeowner to verify report of accidents and other emergencies,” he added.
Report Online Scams to I-ARC Channels
Ramos reiterated to report incidents of online scams to the Inter-Agency Response Center (I-ARC) Hotline 1326. Additional I-ARC numbers are also available: 0947-714-7105 (SMART), 0966-976-5971 (Globe), and 0991-481-4225 (DITO). They can also go to https://www.facebook.com/CICCgovph and then click the message button, and read the privacy statement. You can then choose the complaint you want to report. They use the Scam Watch Pilipinas website by clicking the reporting button on the main page of www.scamwatchpilipinas.com.