Globe Telecom calls on its customers to be extra vigilant to avoid becoming victims of online fraud, fake content, and cybersecurity attacks that capitalize on the current pandemic.
The company issued the advice after receiving reports about several COVID-19 related pop-ups, ads, fake surveys, freebie scams, alleged SIM upgrades and other offers promising rewards in exchange for personal information.
Aside from online fraud, there are also attempts by scammers to take over mobile numbers or accounts by offering SIM upgrades or help with concerns. Globe said sensitive data such as passwords, one-time PINs and MPINs should not be shared with anyone since legitimate companies will never ask for such information as it may lead to unauthorized access to personal accounts.
“There are a lot of unscrupulous persons or syndicates who pose as customer service agents, take advantage of device offers, and even exploit the health crisis to defraud our customers. With the increased complexity of technologies, network elements and IT infrastructure, new 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,” said Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO.
Globe’s experience mirrors the situation being faced by other mobile network operators worldwide where fraudsters take advantage of the fear, confusion and uncertainties brought about by the situation to steal data, information and identity through COVID-19 malware and phishing campaigns, SIM swap, and identity theft, among other illegal activities.
A quarterly analysis of international online fraud trends released on May 13 by TransUnion, a global information and insights company, showed that telecommunications was the most affected by fraud, with 76% suspected fraud increase after the pandemic was declared. This was primarily due to social distancing measures which changed shopping patterns and allowed fraudsters to target more digital forward industries like telecommunications. Millennials, on the other hand, are the most targeted age group of digital fraud related to COVID-19, with 34%.
Thus, to stay safe online, Globe reminds its customers to be alert especially against offers that are often too good to be true and not to provide personal and bank details. In case such information has been shared, passwords should be immediately changed while accounts must be monitored closely for any irregularities.
Globe also recommends securing browsers to avoid malicious ads by going to the browser settings and enabling pop-up blockers. It, likewise, underscored the importance of backing up important files through an external drive or in the cloud in case of a cybersecurity attack. (Jonathan Castillo)