The Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit-Cordillera (RACU-Cor) issues a vital warning to the public in Cordillera: exercise caution when navigating the digital realm to evade the grasp of cybercriminals. Cybercrime, or computer crime, involves using a computer for illicit activities like fraud and privacy violations.
According to Police Staff Sergeant Samie Imado of RACU-Cor, they've been tackling a surge in cybercrimes, particularly fraud and online scams. In the second quarter of 2023, they documented 72 cybercrime cases in Cordillera, with a staggering 47 linked to fraud.
Imado sheds light on two prevalent online scams: tasking scams and transient scams.
Tasking Scams: The Illusion of Easy Money
Tasking scams lure individuals with the promise of quick wealth. Investors are enticed into believing they'll make money, but the reality is quite different. While these scams bear similarities to investment schemes, they involve the purchase of goods to generate income. Investors may see apparent earnings on a platform, but it's all smoke and mirrors.
Imado warns, "Makikita mo lang sa platform na kumikita ka, siyempre sa platform lang 'yun, wala naman talagang pera, kasi ikaw ang nagbibigay through G-cash through banks."
Transient Scams: The Phantom Lodgings
Transient scams revolve around promoting non-existent transient homes, cleverly using internet photos to create a deceptive illusion. These scams exploit the trust of potential renters by presenting enticing images of accommodations that aren't real.
To protect yourself from these scams, Imado advises verifying a company's legitimacy through alternative sources like the Securities and Exchange Commission or other reputable websites. You can also perform a quick image search on Google to confirm the authenticity of transient listings.
While RACU-Cor has been active in apprehending cybercriminals, with ten arrests this year, primarily related to estafa and violations of the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009, Imado underscores the gravity of online crimes. He reminds the public that committing crimes via technology or the internet carries a higher degree of punishment.
Under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, computer-related offenses like forgery, fraud, and identity theft can result in imprisonment or substantial fines. Content-related offenses, such as unsolicited commercial communications, can lead to fines ranging from at least P50,000 to not exceeding P250,000 for each transmission.
Conclusion: Stay Cyber-Smart
In our ongoing efforts to promote cybersecurity awareness, let RACU-Cor's insights guide you towards a safer online experience. Vigilance, information, and caution in your digital interactions are your best defenses against cybercriminals. Stay safe and stay cyber-smart year-round!