Home Finance Cyber Identity Theft Cases Surge in the Philippines, Prompting Police Warning

Cyber Identity Theft Cases Surge in the Philippines, Prompting Police Warning

Cyber Identity Theft Cases Surge in the Philippines

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) issued a stern reminder to the public on Thursday, urging caution when sharing personal information online and clicking on website links. The warning follows a notable 12.2 percent increase in cyber identity theft cases last year, according to Major General Sydney Hernia, director of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG).

In a statement, Hernia revealed that the ACG recorded a total of 1,597 cyber identity theft cases in 2023, up from 1,402 cases in 2022. Offenders can face penalties as stipulated in Section 4 (b) of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Over the past two years, 20 suspects have been apprehended through inquest and regular filing, while other cases remain under investigation or have been referred to other agencies, Hernia disclosed. Some cases have been resolved under the category of “beyond police control,” which encompasses issues related to the complainants, such as failure to submit required documents, refusal to prosecute, difficulties in record-keeping, or challenges in locating the involved individuals.

Hernia emphasized that cyber identity theft occurs when individuals unwittingly disclose sensitive information through various tactics, including phishing, scams, or downloading malicious software. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities on social media platforms, insecure networks, compromised ATMs, and target data breaches on company, government, or educational websites.

To safeguard against such threats, Hernia advised netizens to refrain from sharing unnecessary personal information online, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, and to always look for the “https://” protocol in the URL when providing sensitive information on websites.

“By following these precautions and maintaining vigilance, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber identity theft. It is crucial to take an active approach in managing your online presence and safeguarding personal information,” Hernia urged.