Hackers, scammers, swindlers

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Let’s be wary of them. We are into more tricky times, made more vicious because of the power of the new technologies which they deftly use. We need to level up in our skill of prudence and self-guarding and protection, always vigilant and on the alert.

Not only do we have to contend with those who tag us with malicious videos, inserting malware into our systems. We also have to deal nowadays with those who hack our accounts, offer us some fraudulent transactions, and if they succeed, manage to rob us blind, and even big time at that.

The other day, a high school classmate of mine, who I know is quite well-placed and with whom I’ve been chatting through Messenger, sent a request if I could advance P32,000 to a certain account because for one reason or another he could not do it himself, and that he would immediately repay me the next morning.

It was good that I don’t have such kind of money, and so I certainly could not do him the favor. I felt sorry for him and wanted to know more about his problem. So, I tried to video chat with him. But to my surprise, there was no response. Rather, the reply was a message that said that the signal was weak in his place at that time.

That made me already suspicious, since we have been video chatting for quite a while before. So I turned to my high school class chat group and informed them of what I just received. To my horror, practically everyone also received the same message, and all their effort to contact my requesting classmate failed.

That was when the wife of my classmate informed us that her husband’s Messenger account was hacked. But this came only after one of my classmates, also well-placed but with a soft heart, readily deposited the amount to the account. A day later, another high school batch, the one next to ours, experienced the same scam.

I’ve been hearing of these scams for quite a while now. A friend of mine was swindled of his P30,000 when he tried to get a laptop online. Another friend told me that a friend of his was robbed of millions while trying to sell his house. The scammer sounded very credible, dropping big names, like an ambassador of a certain country.

I wonder what is being done on the part of the government to run after these crooks. I also wonder what we ourselves can do to track them down. Obviously, the big techs that provide the social media can and should also do their part to protect the users of their technologies. We need to put our act together.

Of course, I know that these hackers, scammers, and swindlers are also brothers and sisters of ours whom we have to love. But it does not mean that we would just allow them to go on with their nefarious business. It would not be the proper love we would be extending them. They have to be corrected and rehabilitated. And they have to face whatever requirement of justice applies for their crime.

We obviously need to do a lot of praying, sacrificing, and doing apostolate if only to effect some healthy spiritual transformation of these brothers and sisters of ours. We should try our best that their crimes do not provoke us to commit sin ourselves by falling into hatred and its ilk!

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