PNP: Facebook hampering probe of online scams
Data from the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) showed that 869 online scams were recorded from March to September, higher by 37.28 percent compared to 633 incidents during the same period last year, when the country was still not under a community quarantine.
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PNP: Facebook hampering probe of online scams
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Facebook is hampering the investigation of online scams that occurred during the community quarantine, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said yesterday.

Data from the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) showed that 869 online scams were recorded from March to September, higher by 37.28 percent compared to 633 incidents during the same period last year, when the country was still not under a community quarantine.

The government imposed strict quarantine measures last March in response to a surge of COVID-19 infections in the country.

In most of these scams, ACG spokesman Maj. Joseph Villaran said criminals have used Facebook in their transactions.

However, Villaran said Facebook representatives have not replied to their requests for information on the accounts that were used in scamming people.

“We requested details on the accounts but frequently, they would not reply,” he said in a phone interview.

In the instances that Facebook did reply, Villaran said the social media platform invoked Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act in its refusal to give details of what the police are saying as questionable accounts.

Unlike Facebook, the ACG said it has not encountered problems with financial institutions and e-commerce platforms, which are always ready in providing information on accounts that were used in crimes.

Getting information on Facebook accounts used in scams is important, according to Villaran, as it could give them leads on the suspects’ identities.

“We can find out where the last log-in was done and which computer was used,” he said.

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