THE JUSTICE department’s cybercrime team has flagged the unlawful debt collection practices of online lending companies, citing the growing number of reports it has received.

In a public advisory on Monday, the Department of Justice–Office of Cybercrime (DoJ-OOC) said various laws prohibit these online firms from accessing the debtor’s phone contacts, posting their personal information, threatening them with death and physical injuries, and using profane language.

The advisory was issued “in response to the increasing number of reports received and endorsed to (the DoJ-OOC) involving unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassments by online lending companies.”

The pertinent laws include Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, the Revised Penal Code, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular 18 series of 2019.

Aside from reporting to the DoJ-OOC, victims of unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassments may also report to the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division, National Privacy Commission, and the SEC. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago