Group gives tips to avoid cybercrimes
A leading local bank marketing group has issued a fresh warning on rising “phishing” and “smishing” and other cybercrimes at this time that more people are working in remote locations amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP) said it was working together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to fight cybercrime and theft and raise awareness on how to protect themselves offline and online.
“Cyber threats such as phishing and smishing are fast evolving and growing. Extraordinary times like the COVID-19 pandemic open up opportunities for fraudulent activities,” BMAP said.
Phishing refers to the use of social engineering to steal user data and login credentials, typically by tricking the victim into opening an email or clicking a fake website. Smishing is a way of tricking someone to reveal private information through text or SMS message.
“BMAP is imploring the public not to be misinformed by proliferating fake and unverified news as these affect the integrity of the banking community,” the group said.
To stay “cybersafe,” the group urged bank clients to avoid using shared network or shared computer when doing financial or other sensitive transactions as this would give hackers greater opportunity to access personal information.
“Install and update the antivirus software in your device. Running an antivirus software will also ensure you are protected from malware that can be used to gain access to your confidential information. Install an antispam software as this will prevent junk emails from reaching you. Make sure your computer’s firewall is turned on to block unauthorized communications,” it added.
BMAP urged people to beware of cybercriminals creating fake emails and social media accounts and pretending to be financial institutions and government agencies asking for personal and account information for seemingly legitimate purposes.
The group also advised the public to observe the following:
- double check the contact details, official website, and social media accounts of the sender;
- ignore suspicious links that require account number, credit card information, online banking username and password and onetime Pins (OTP);
- do not overshare personal information on social media to avoid compromising personal identity and any other important information;
- don’t open or reply to unsolicited emails as this lets the sender know that your address is valid and can be used for future scams;
- be wary of email attachments and free software from unknown sources;
- be cautious, particularly when making online payments to a bank. Make sure the website is secured. Look for security-enabled web addresses that start with “https://.” A closed lock or padlock also indicates that the website is secure.
- do not let anyone know your bank card numbers, personal identification numbers, security questions or passwords.
- create and use a strong password for all accounts and preferably set a different password for each account. Should a hacker or phisher obtain one of your passwords, at least only one account will be compromised.
- activate account notification if available. Some banks have notification alert tools where they send text messages or email notifications after every transaction.
Fraud attempts or incidents are advised to be reported to the cyber desk/fraud department hotline of the pertinent bank, the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division or Anti-Fraud Division at 0961-7349450 and 8-5238231 to 38, or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Consumer Protection Department at 8-7087087. INQ
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