Filipinos unequipped with sufficient knowledge in the digital world are prone to cybercrime, Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) Undersecretary Alexander K. Ramos said in an interview yesterday.  

“We need to increase awareness of the different tactics being used by persons who try to take advantage of the less educated online. That’s why we have victims who don’t know how to protect themselves when they go online…We need to re-educate”, he stated. 

Mr. Ramos added that the pandemic caused a lot of people to use the Internet unprepared. 

“Historically, we have a problem because of the pandemic. People are forced into embracing technology as a means and, part of our norms, our way of life. we have adapted to it, seeing the convenience of online transactions. Because we were forced into this nature, a lot of our citizenry are not prepared to protect themselves”, he explained.

To combat the pressing issue, Mr. Ramos emphasized the importance of citizen participation to identify the different tactics and schemes used in cybercrimes. 

“It is important to increase awareness and to ask the public to report to us so that we can come up with advisory stories towards trending activities online that are detrimental to everyone”, he added.  

Apart from citizen awareness and education, the government is taking measures to ensure the safety of Filipinos online by employing “technically capable” agents, increasing the budget for cybersecurity, and creating new processes and protocols to expedite online crimes, Mr. Ramos said.  


Online fraud ranks first in cybercrime  

The CICC Undersecretary also mentioned the leading category of cybercrime in the country is online fraud, which covers phishing, vishing, consumer fraud, and online trade.  

“Number one of the complaints is online fraud transactions…You can break it down to several sub-topics such as phishing, vishing, consumer fraud, online trade, because, we use one strategy to do this and, it falls under the category of online fraud,” he stated.  

PMGEN Sidney S. Hernia elaborated in a press release that the increase in online activity and the continuous advancement of technology is one of the reasons for the increasing rate of digital scams in the country.  

“The rise in e-commerce and online platforms provide scammers with more opportunities to perpetrate their schemes”, he said. 

In the first quarter of 2024, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) reported 4,469 cybercrime incidents, a 21.84% rise from the previous quarter. – Almira Louise S. Martinez