Oversharing on social media can make you a target for scams: tech pundit

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2022 02:45 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2022 03:52 PM

MANILA - Filipinos can protect themselves against cyber crimes with a few simple rules, including limiting what they post about themselves on social media, a cybersecurity analyst said on Tuesday.

Manila Bulletin technology editor Art Samaniego gave the following tips to internet and mobile phone users on how to guard personal data from fraudsters:

  •  Make secure passwords 
  •  Use 2-factor authentication
  •  Do not click links 
  •  Do not use public WiFi when doing financial transactions
  •  Update phone and computer software
  •  Limit posts about personal information on social media

Software and apps on computers and smartphones should always be updated, Samaniego said. But apart from this, users should also be aware of what they are sharing on social media. 

"Dapat ayusin natin mga social media postings nila at social media information na shina-share natin," he added.

(We should be careful about social media postings and social media information the we share.)

On text scams becoming more personalized, people who share too much information on social media should not be surprised, he said.

"Eto pinagtataka ko sa mga Pinoy, nagulat sila kasi nakita nila mga pangalan nila, telephone at pangalan nila [sa text scam]. Pero hindi nila alam sa Facebook, ano ba shinare nila sa Facebook- pangalan, birthday, address, pictures, relationships," Samaniego said.

(This is what puzzles me about Pinoys: they were surprised when they saw their names or numbers in text scams. But on Facebook, what are they sharing? Name, birthday, address, photos, relationships.)

Some Filipinos have also reported that scammers have moved to calls in addition to scamming via text messages.

Samaniego said the best defense is not to give out personal information when asked via phones. Personal data can be used by fraudsters to access bank accounts and steal money, he said.

The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigations are investigating personalized text scams. 

The National Privacy Commission, meanwhile, said the data used to send these personalized messages are unlikely from a data breach or from contact-tracing forms.

Telcos are working with the National Telecommunications Commission to curb the spread of text scams. The NTC also earlier ordered phone manufacturers and sellers to educate users on their phones' text blocking features.

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