MANILA, Philippines — The holiday season is here. For Christmas-crazy Pinoys, it means the time is here again for gatherings, gift-giving, and of course, when there are gifts, there is shopping — tons of it. The Yuletide season, however, doesn’t only bring with it a festive vibe, but also heavy traffic and malls brimming with holiday shoppers.
With the convenience of online shopping apps, more and more Filipinos are lured to do their shopping on these platforms. Why wouldn’t they? They could shop in the comfort of their own homes with just a few taps and swipes on their smartphones.
Moreover, with the COVID-19 pandemic still posing a threat, consumers can shop to their heart’s content at home without worrying of being infected.
But with the rise in popularity of online shopping also comes the rise of cyber-related crimes aimed to fool cyber shoppers such as hacking and fraud.
Scams and frauds designed to gain access to online profiles such as your digital banking accounts have been around for years. But they have been more frequent and aggressive lately, with scammers and fraudsters becoming more and more creative and tech-savvy.
For one, there are schemes specifically made to target you and your online habits to better catch you off guard. As scammers quickly level up their tactics, more and more people have fallen victim to these fraudulent online attacks.
This year, for example, has seen an increased frequency in SMS messages with suspicious-looking links, known as smishing. What makes this modus even scarier and more effective in fooling people is how these messages now have your name, making them look legitimate. Others have gotten phishing emails that, at first glance, seem like formal communication from banks or other financial services.
Scammers have brought these attacks to a higher level with phone calls from people pretending to be from a bank, or any other institution that ask for personal information.
This is known as voice phishing or vishing. At times, the caller sounds so legit and professional that it can easily make you fall into the trap. They can be highly persuasive, to the point that you feel you have no other option but to give what they ask.
With these types of sophisticated cyber attacks, it's becoming harder and harder to distinguish what’s fake from what’s real.
In response to the high prevalence of these scams that target unsuspecting consumers, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) has combined cutting-edge technology and industry best practices in designing the security features of RCBC Digital.
As the bank continues its thrust to accelerate digital adoption with secure and convenient digital solutions, it also carries on the fight against cybercrime. RCBC believes that the push for digital banking goes hand-in-hand with efforts to provide efficient and secure online services.
During RCBC’s #DontGetFooled: Staying Safe Online webinar on security awareness held in October 2022, Carlos Tengkiat, RCBC Chief Information Security Officer, reiterated how successful online fraud has been in targeting individuals but has not been successful in infiltrating organizations, particularly banks and other financial services.
“The banking industry is constantly evolving, not only to cater to your needs but also to deliver these convenient services in a secure manner,” Tengkiat said, noting that RCBC is constantly working with other banking institutions, telecommunication companies, and government institutions to help provide this security.
He emphasized how RCBC’s digital banking app offers many security features such as two-factor authentication, biometric support, mandatory password change for online banking, card locking for lost and misplaced cards, and real-time SMS and email notification for banking transactions, among others.
RCBC launched a cybersecurity awareness campaign to educate its clients so they can better identify schemes that may potentially compromise their accounts. This campaign, which has been launched across different online platforms, provides tips on how to stay safe online amid the proliferation of scams and frauds in an effort to mitigate these incidents.
RCBC reminds its clients to practice heightened vigilance when it comes to their transactions — be it online or offline — by treating personal information as a valuable asset, being more mindful of banking habits, and practicing more prudence with whom they transact.
For one, your One Time Password (OTP) is automatically sent to your registered mobile number or email address and no other person would have access to this. This is something that should never be shared with anyone.
Never click on links from random senders, be it via text or email. These can easily lead you to websites that will require you to input some personal information. Check first if it’s legit. When in doubt, don’t click.
Most banks have also removed clickable links in all forms of client communication, in support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as recommended controlled measures against cyber fraud and attacks on retail electronic payments and financial services.
These measures are part of the company’s thrust to educate clients on how to conduct electronic banking safely and securely.
“Security, like banking, is a partnership. And we at RCBC are dedicated to be your partner in your journey,” Tengkiat added.
Now you can shop for Christmas gifts for your parents, partner, inaanak, or secret Santa safely and without worries.