In person, we can sometimes easily tell when someone is up to no good. However, as the world continues to digitize, the dangers are no longer contained in dark alleys or bad neighborhoods, they can also be found in our emails, inboxes, and even on our own social media accounts.
As we continue to rely on the Internet and other digital platforms to conduct our financial transactions, illegal activities using the same channel are similarly on the rise.
Fraudulent activities or scams don’t threaten our lives or our physical well-being, but it can do harm to our financial stability and peace of mind.
Staying safe online requires identifying and understanding the scams that these cybercriminals are into.
Below are some common online scams that you should look out for, so that you can enjoy surfing the Internet and using digital financial services in a fun and safe way:
1.Phishing or Email Phishing (Online Banking Scam)
This is perhaps the most common online scam, largely because of how well it works. This is also called brand spoofing as scammers will create email messages and web pages that look exactly like a legitimate online banking facility. Scammers will trick you and let you fill out a form with your email and password, credit card details, and other personal details.
2. Online Shopping Scam
During the pandemic, most of us were forced to rely on e-commerce activities or online shopping. It’s not surprising that these scammers have made their way online – many posing as merchants. Some activities involve purchased items that are expired, fake, in poor condition, or did not reach the buyer.
3. Email/SMS Spoofing
Spoofing is a technique that scammers use to change the sender information on a text sent via SMS or email. They usually disguise as legitimate banks, newspapers, company and the like. Spoofing contains fake offers, asking for a person’s password, OTP and other personal information.
4. Check Overpayment Scam
With overpayment scams, fraudsters play the role of buyer and target consumers selling a service or product. The scammer/ “buyer” will give you a check for an amount higher than the agreed-upon price and will ask to send back the excess funds using money transfer, but the check is fake.
5.SIM Swap Scam (Online Banking Scam)
This is also known as the “palit SIM” scam. SIM swapping is a new form of online fraud in the country. Here, scammers pretend to be either a legitimate mobile subscriber or an authorized representative of a mobile subscriber. They will request for SIM card replacement from the telecommunications provider of the mobile number then they will use this to access your personal information, including bank account and credit card details.
6. ATM/Card Skimming (Online Banking Scam)
According to PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Division, this ATM skimming involves copying your personal information on your bank account from the magnetic stripe on the back of your ATM or credit card. Scammers try to steal your details, so they can access your accounts.
7. Lottery Scam
An email, letter, or text message claiming to be from a lottery company arrives out of nowhere and informs you that you have won the lottery or sweepstakes, asking you to send money to claim the prize. According to our tech expert, Art Samaniego, these scammers also use fake social media ads notifying that you have won a prize.
8. Romance Scam
The romance scam starts simply: A man and woman meet on the Internet. This type of scam tries to lower your defenses by appealing to your romantic or compassionate side. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts, or personal details. Scammers target victims by creating fake profiles on legitimate internet dating services.
9. Investment Scam
These types of scams disguise themselves with the promise of easy, guaranteed returns while looking to take advantage of newbie investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission provides this information to know how to deal with them.
Now that we know what these common scams are, becoming familiar with the common warning signs can also help you avoid being a victim to these scams in the first place. If you see any of the red flags listed below, proceed with extreme caution and do more investigating before parting with your money or giving out any personal information.
1) Asks for your personal information (bank details, OTP, passwords, or access to your computer)
2) Too good to be true offers
3) It has a sense of urgency
4) It has spelling and grammatical errors
5) Unsecured sites or wrong URL
6) Malicious links
7) Non-secure payment method
For additional information on how to spot scams and frauds, you can check out this helpful link from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. You can also search for the company’s registered name online at PIFA (Philippine Investment Funds Association) and Security and Exchange Commission to ensure its legitimacy.