(Editor's note: This article was written by MoneyMax, the Philippines’ foremost online platform for comparing financial and telecom products and services, for ABS-CBNnews.com. Find out more at MoneyMax.ph.)
MANILA, Philippines - Have you been a victim of any Internet scam?
Having a different time zone does not secure Filipinos from online mafias and independent hackers living abroad. Considering the growth of computer literacy and Internet usage in the country, more of our kababayans are exposed to potential online security threats and fraudulent activities.
The worst part is, being tech savvy or Internet smart does not automatically eliminate you from the never-ending list of prospective victims.
Based on the research of Ultrascan, an international research organization focused on Internet crimes, people who are experiencing emotional trauma are highly vulnerable to fraud and scam. Individuals who have personal dilemmas, such as separation or death of a loved one, are most likely to ignore red flags and immediately fall into traps.
Always remember that scam artists are heartless, creative people who will prey on anyone and take advantage of their weaknesses.
Here’s your guide to doing a reality check when facing scams:
You can’t be an overnight millionaire everyday
If it’s not in your spam folder yet, you must have already come across an email saying that you won a foreign lottery jackpot that is worth millions or even billions of dollars or you are the sole inheritor to a multimillion dollar fund.
No matter how difficult the times are, don’t resort to replying to these “claim-your-prize” emails because there’s a possibility that the email is intended to steal your personal data or your money. There are also some unsolicited emails telling you about an opportunity to make an investment with high returns. The keyword is “unsolicited”. If it’s unsolicited, it is most likely not worth your time.
Stop itching to satisfy your curiosity or generosity
You don’t have to click on every link. Some claim to be scandalous photos or videos that you need to check out. Most suspicious links lead to malware or spyware, but there are also some links which are designed to hack your online bank accounts or credit cards. Emails with links on how to donate money for disaster relief or for the treatment of sick kids or adults are also prevalent. Reassure yourself by directing your goodwill to legitimate and credible groups or institutions.
Don’t talk to strangers
Real and fake people create profiles on online dating sites where they can interact with people looking for romantic affairs and eventually extort money from them.
Another modus operandi is an email from a stranger who would like to get to know you better after coming across your Facebook profile. Protect yourself from any danger by blocking or disapproving requests from people that you do not know.
Despite our exposure to international scams, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that Pinoys are not always the victims. If you do a little research on online scams, you will find that the Philippines is one of the countries that is notorious for online “sweetheart”/dating and sextortion scams.
Isolation is not the best way to prevent yourself from being a victim. You can always stay connected as long as you follow a set of measures against suspicious online activities.
To learn more about the top Internet scams, check out this infographic from MoneyMax.ph: