The Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 10 reiterated on August 24, its earlier warning to netizens against tech-savvy hackers and online scammers.
Lt. Col. Lemuel Gonda, RACU-10 acting chief, advised internet users through personal computers and mobile phones not to accept friend request at once, even if the person is known and with his photo.
“Confirmed it first before you accept,” said Gonda, and reminded them that by clicking any link, upon the invitation of an unknown person, personal accounts and vital information can be accessed.
He said this scheme, in information technology world, is called social engineering which utilizes the internet through Facebook, Messenger, Email accounts, among other social media platforms, otherwise known as phishing.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purportedly from known persons or entities in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information such as mobile phone numbers, credit card numbers, and bank accounts
Gonda said that aside from phishing, online scammers also resort to smishing and vishing with the use of text messages and voice calls as well as direct calls, respectively, claiming to represent a person personally known or from a reputable organization or institution.
The RACU-10 head’s public reminder came a day after a Cagayan de Oro-based journalist reported his Facebook account was hacked and that somebody was using the messenger to extort money from FB friends. At least 10 individuals got the extortion message.
Not one has reported to have sent money to the hacker though, since not one was willing to send P49,000 as requested.
“This is a case of identity theft,” Gonda said and such scheme ranks second among 10 categories of cybercrimes in the Philippines.
In Mach this year, a Gusa village resident in Cagayan de Oro reported to the rACU-10 that his dollar bank account was emptied by somebody who has hacked his Facebook account. His bank account was linked to his Facebook.
Fortunately, his dollar bank account was insured in the US but the cyber-criminals remained scot-free.
From January to July this year, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group has recorded 1,755 online scams, 818 computer-related identity thefts, 587 illegal access incidents, 411 online libels, and 346 credit card frauds.
“Think before you click,” was Gonda’s concluding reminder.