Covid-19 Online Fraud Proliferates; Globe Urges Vigilance
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By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — CYBERSECURITY organizations and lots of experts have discovered and warned of the proliferation of online scams hiding behind Covid-19 inspired themes.
Kaspersky, Fortinet, and others have been taking the cudgels for the users of internet, asking them to be extra vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.
In the Philippines, Globe Telecoms has added its voice as it calls on its millions of customers to exercise extra vigilance to avoid becoming victims of online fraud, fake content, and cybersecurity attacks capitalizing on the pandemic that continued to sweep the world.
The Philippine telecom network issued the advice after receiving reports concerning many “Covid-19 related pop-ups, ads, fake surveys, freebie scams, alleged SIM upgrades and other offers that promise rewards in exchange for personal information.”
Cybercriminals’ online scams do not stop there.
The company said scammers have also been attempting to hijack mobile numbers or accounts by offering SIM upgrades or help with concerns.
To prevent this kind of scam, Globe warned its subscribers to not share their sensitive data such as passwords, one-time PINs, and MPINs with anyone because legitimate companies will never ask for such information because it may lead to unauthorized access to personal accounts.
Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu noted that new technologies bring positive and negative effects.
“There are a lot of unscrupulous persons or syndicates who post as customer service agents, take advantage of device offers, and even exploit the health crisis to defraud our customers. With the increased complexities of technologies, network elements, and IT infrastructure, mew types of fraud that are more difficult to detect or combat could also arise.
“That is why we have continuously communicated to our customers how to do transactions securely and safely online,” Cu emphasizes.
The experience of Globe is similar to other mobile network operators’ situation across the world where fraudsters take advantage of the fear, confusion and uncertainties arising from the situation to steal data, information, and identify using Covid-19 malware and phishing campaigns, SIM swap, and identify theft to mention some of the illegal activities perpetrated by cybercriminals on unsuspecting victims.
Globe cited global information and insights firm TransUnion’s quarterly analysis of international online fraud trends made public on May 13. The analysis showed that telecommunications was the most affected by fraud, with 75 percent suspected fraud spike the pandemic’s declaration.
TransUnion attributed this to social distancing regulations as the primary driver as it changed shopping patterns, allowing fraudsters to target more digital forward industries like telecommunications.
The finding of the study, meanwhile, showed that millennials (34 percent) are the most targeted age group of digital fraud related to Covid-19.
Here’s some of Globe’s reminders and recommendations to its customers for a safe life online:
- Be alert especially against offers that appear often to be too good to be true.
- Do not provide personal and bank details.
- Change passwords right away if such information has been shared.
- Monitor accounts closely for any sign of irregularities.
- Secure your browsers to avoid malicious ads.
- Enable pop-up blockers.
- Make a backup of important files through an external drive or in the cloud in case of a cybersecurity attack.
In relation with guarding against and preventing fraud and scams, Globe said customers may check the authenticity of offers by visiting, http://www.globe.comp.ph/contact-us. (SDN)