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Techies most vulnerable to cybercrime

With the increasing number of techies and users of the Internet in the country, cybercriminals also have more opportunities to prey on netizens, police officials said.

People have to be careful when they go online as criminals also lurk in cyberspace, the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) warned Thursday.

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At a press briefing at Camp Crame on Thursday, the ACG noted that there are now 44 million netizens or users of the Internet in the country.

A netizen spends an average 18.6 hours per week, or 2.6 hours per day, in cyberspace.

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From 2013 to 2015, the ACG received 1,211 cybercrime complaints, with online scams topping the list with 366 cases.

Senior Supt. Edwin Roque, the ACG chief, said online scams usually involved online buying or selling, investments, pyramiding scams and other forms of online fraud.

Other complaints received by the ACG were online libel at 240 cases, online threats with 129 cases; identity theft, 127 cases; and anti-photo and video voyeurism, 89 cases.

“The number of complaints are rising because the opportunity for our fellow Filipinos to use the Internet is also increasing. There is more access now to mobile phones, smartphones and the Internet,” said Roque.

According to the ACG, there are 5.21 million Twitter users and 30.66 million Facebook users in the country. The Philippines ranks eighth all over the world, and third in Asia, in Internet use.

Roque reminded netizens to be wary of suspicious messages or offers that they get online. He said they can report such cybercrimes to the ACG through www.acg.pnp.gov.ph, mobile phone number 09985689082, landlines 4141560, or e-mail at [email protected]

The ACG also issued the following tips to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime:

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— Set privacy settings to the most secure setting available. 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.

— Don’t post any information that would let someone know that you’re going on vacation or that the house is empty. Posting that you will be out of town for a few days could make you a likely target of thieves.

— Create a unique password for every social site. Consider making the 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.

— Don’t post anything online that would cause problems if made public. 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 newspaper.

— Do remember that employers, school and university administrators and others often check Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for information posted online.

— Don’t 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 e-mail, these could launch malicious software or viruses that could damage a computer.

— Be selective about whom to accept as a “friend” or “follower” on social media accounts. 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. 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.

TOPICS: Anti-Cybercrime Group, Cybercrime, Internet, PNP, police
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