The Department of Justice-Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) has warned the public against falling prey to a fake email address — [email protected] — purportedly that of Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and soliciting donations in the form of iTunes gift cards for the allegedly sick and terminally ill.
“The said email address was used to send messages to a number of recipients requesting assistance in the alleged procurement of iTunes gift cards as donations to patients at hospice care units across the Philippines, subject to reimbursement,” lawyer Charito A. Zamora, Officer-in-Charge of the DOJ-OOC, said in a public advisory.
“In this regard, please be informed that the DOJ Office of the Secretary’s only official email address is [email protected],” Zamora said.
“Messages coming from a different email address than that of the official one, such as the above-reported, shall be dealt with conscientiously, as these neither originate from this Department, the Office of the Secretary, nor the Justice Secretary,” she stressed.
She then shared tips on what netizens should do should they receive scam messages, and how to distinguish these from legitimate emails.
The first is to look out for a warning message from the email provider. “Do not click any links or provide personal information until the email is confirmed as real,” she warned.
When the email has been opened, Zamora said that people should click the “More” option that is next to the “Reply” button and select “Report Phishing” from the option.
The next step would be to block the sender by also clicking on “More” and selecting “Block Sender” from the options. Netizens can also opt to report the message as spam by clicking on the “Report Spam” option, she said.
Finally, Zamora encouraged netizens to report these scam emails to the concerned service provider. “If the sender is Gmail address, such as in this case, report the Gmail abuse to Google through this link – https://support.google.com/mail/answer/8253?hl=en,” she also said.
“It is timely to reiterate that the unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent is among the prohibited and punishable acts under Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” she stressed.
Any person found guilty of the said offense shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor (six years and one day to 12 years) or a fine of at least P200,000 up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both, she added.