PNP issues guidelines to avoid cybercrimes
Online scams topped the list of cybercrime complaints since 2013 up to present, according to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG).
This prompted the ACG to intensify its warning to the social media users who fall prey to online fraud schemes including pyramiding, paluwagan (peer lending circles), false investments and online buying and selling.
“Cybercrime offenders exploit the gullibility of social media users. The solution here is prevention. Our thinking should always be, if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true,” the acting director of ACG Senior Superintendent Edwin Roque said in a press briefing on Thursday.
With the increasing number of online scam cases, the ACG thus gave tips to avoid cybercriminals.
Roque advised social media users to set their privacy settings on social media to the “most secure setting possible.” “Most social networking sites offer ways to restrict access to make sure information is being shared only with friends and not the Internet at large.”
When you are out on vacation, the ACG said do not make yourself a target of thieves by posting about being away from home for days.
Make a unique password for every social site you are using. Also make your passwords stronger by adding numbers or special characters. “Having strong, unique passwords for each site helps prevent hackers from taking over social media accounts to send spam to other users, scam friends or use information against the owner of the account,” said the ACG.
“Follow the ‘Front Page Rule,’ which reminds social media users not to report anything on social media site they would not want to see on the front page of a local newspaper.”
The ACG director also advised users not to click on links that may appear to be unusual or suspicious, even if they look like they are sent by friends. “Likewise, don’t click links sent through spam email, these could launch malicious software or viruses that could damage a computer,” he added.
When accepting a “friend” or a “follower,” be selective. The ACG warned that identity thieves can easily create fake profiles in order to obtain personal information that might otherwise have been private.
“Don’t post any information that can lead hackers to passwords for online banking or other accounts,” it said.
For example, common questions for those who have forgotten their passwords for financial or other sites include “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What’s your favorite pet?” Criminals may be able to find those answers easily on social networking sites. Julliane Love de Jesus/IDL
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