Shopping scam rate in PH highest in Asia | Inquirer Technology

Shopping scam rate in PH is 36%, highest in 11 Asian countries

09:24 AM November 24, 2023

Recent reports indicate that the Philippines is the most susceptible to shopping scams among 11 Asian countries. The 2023 Asia Scam Report said the archipelago reached a record 35.9% shopping scam rate. Moreover, CICC Executive Director Alexander K. Ramos warned the public to be wary while buying stuff online, especially during the holiday season.

Other countries celebrate Christmas, but the Philippines is the only one that celebrates it months before December with such passion and joy. You can say it’s our version of Thanksgiving when we relax with friends and family. Unfortunately, we must remain vigilant as criminals take advantage of the Yuletide cheer to launch online scams.

This article will elaborate on the latest data regarding the Philippines’ shopping scam rate. Later, I will cover the most common online scams and explain how to avoid them.


How did PH gain a high shopping scam rate?

Understanding the factors behind the surge in shopping scams in the Philippines.

The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center cited the recent Asia Scam Report from the 1st Anti-Scam Asia Summit in Taipei, Taiwan. The Global Anti Scam Alliance (GASA) and Gogolook published the data based on 20,000 respondents across the following Asian countries:

  1. Philippines
  2. Taiwan
  3. Thailand
  4. Japan
  5. South Korea
  6. Malaysia
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Singapore
  9. Vietnam
  10. Indonesia
  11. China

As mentioned, the Pearl of the Orient earned the highest shopping scam rate at 35.9%. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says, “Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.”

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CICC Executive Director Alexander K. Ramos urged the public to be careful when purchasing online. “Based on our observations, shopping scams usually increase during the Christmas season,” he said.

“Scammers take advantage of the high volume of online shopping and people’s vulnerability during this period,” Ramos added. This mindset makes Filipinos vulnerable to online schemes.

“Some people easily believe in false premises, even if they are too good to be true,” he explained. Moreover, the Asia Scam Report said 24.8% of Filipino victims respond too quickly to scammers’ demands, and 21.1% of victims chose to take a risk despite uncertainty about the risk.

What are the other common online scams?

Identifying prevalent online scams for a secure digital experience.

Shopping scams are not the only type Filipinos should avoid. They must also be mindful of the most common method cited by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): phishing


It says, “Phishing is a cyberattack that uses deception to trick people into giving away sensitive information or taking actions that compromise security.”

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Also, it “is often the first stage of a larger attack that can lead to data breaches, ransomware infections, identity theft, and other serious consequences.” That is why CISA wrote a 14-page document regarding these methods:

Phishing for Credentials

Protect against credential phishing with cybersecurity best practices.

It involves hackers pretending to be someone you trust. They will request your login credentials to access your resources and systems. The earliest version uses emails that seemingly come from your boss, co-worker, or IT staff.

Some send text messages or use chat platforms to trick you into giving your login info. Others use internet phone services to fake caller IDs, posing as legitimate numbers.

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You can protect yourself by implementing Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) for emails. Also, you may set this system to “reject” for outgoing emails.

You should also have multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your credentials. Moreover, set it up to lock out and alert you automatically if it senses suspicious activity.

Single Sign On (SSO) for centralized logins is also ideal. Furthermore, monitor internal email and messaging traffic and train yourself and others to spot sketchy messages.

Phishing for Malware

Defending against malware through awareness and precaution.

Hackers can use phishing to plant malware into your systems. They could send links or attachments hidden inside seemingly innocuous folders. 

Others may urge you to download smartphone apps or open text message links to deliver malicious content. Fortunately, you can stop it by only giving yourself administrator privileges to your computer and nobody else. 

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Add more protection by disabling macros by default and using remote browser isolation solutions and protective DNS resolvers. Create denylists for your email gateway and firewall rules to block malware delivery. 

If you need others to use your system, add trustworthy individuals to an application allowlist. Follow the principle of least privilege (PoLP) when composing that list. 

The Computer Security Resource Center defines it as “The principle that a security architecture is designed so that each entity is granted the minimum system resources and authorizations that the entity needs to perform its function.”


The Philippines has the highest shopping scam rate among 11 Asian countries. Consequently, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center warned Filipinos to be vigilant during the holidays. 

We must double-check offers and discounts, no matter how enticing they are. Also, check online reviews to confirm if they truly deliver on their promises. If they’re too good to be true, they probably aren’t. 

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The CICC is appealing to the public to call 1326 if they are victims of shopping scams and other cybercrimes. Learn more about the latest digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech.


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