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Business

Public warned of increasing online fraud

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
Public warned of increasing online fraud
Earl Melivo, country director for the Philippines at WorldRemit, said the number of fraud cases has increased amid the accelerated growth in the use of digital methods of making payments as well as sending and receiving remittances over the past year.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos need to stay vigilant amid the jump in online fraud cases over the past three months, global payments firm WorldRemit said.

Earl Melivo, country director for the Philippines at WorldRemit, said the number of fraud cases has increased amid the accelerated growth in the use of digital methods of making payments as well as sending and receiving remittances over the past year.

“With the significant increase in digital fraud in the country, Filipino consumers need to be more wary of people they interact and transact with online, especially when money is involved. Not only should they protect their financial information, but they should also be wary of people asking for personal information such as their phone numbers, email addresses or ID numbers,” Melivo said.

A study conducted by global insights company Trans-Union last March showed 44 percent of Filipino consumers have been targeted by digital fraud attempts within the previous three months, while enterprises have seen a 31 percent increase in fraud attempts compared to the previous year.

According to WorldRemit, four industry-wide scams that Filipinos should be aware of this year include email scams, online dating scams, shopping scams and Facebook scams.

As most financial and shopping activity migrates to online, Melivo said Filipinos should be mindful not only of the people they encounter online but also platforms and websites that they transact with.

“Consumers should think first before they click on a link, or before signing up for a financial service or an online shopping website. The more discerning users get, unfortunately the more deceptive fraudulent activities get as well,” he said.

He added the public should only transact with trustworthy platforms that provide security measures to avoid fraud and other malicious activities and also avoid third-party intermediaries or those that offer to make transactions on their behalf.

Due to the global health crisis, there has been an increase in the adoption of digital banking and financial services owing to the safety and convenience of these platforms as many Filipinos are forced to stay indoors or strive to live under the “new normal.”

For its part, WorldRemit has seen consistent, double-digit growth month-on-month since it opened international transfers to domestic mobile wallets such as GCash, Paymaya and Coins.ph.

“But the current trend that we are seeing infers that the increase would likely continue beyond the pandemic,” Melivo added.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sees remittances growing by four percent this year after slumping by 0.8 percent last year as the COVID-19 pandemic displaced hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers.

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