5 common online scams that take advantage of the pandemic – BSP

You may have protected yourself from Covid-19 but scammers have taken advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus to gain a profit from your clicking.  

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has released an advisory which reminds the public to beware of schemes that prey on vulnerable consumers eager to augment incomes, facilitate financial transactions, or make quick investments in these times of the pandemic. 

According to BSP, they have observed five (5) common types of online scams while the nation is reeling from the impacts of Covid-19. These are: donation and charity, phishing scams, spoofed or fake websites, imposter scams and fake documents, and Investment scams.

Online scams 101

  1. Donation or charity scams – fake donation drives taking advantage of the public’s goodwill.
  2. Phishing scams – random emails, calls, text messages or website ads from fake companies or people pretending as personnel of banks, financial institutions, or government agencies, asking for personal information, such as account number, PIN, password, or login credentials.
  3. Spoofed or fake websites – websites that appear to be legitimate, designed to trick users to give personal information and account details.
  4. Imposter scams and fake documents – people pretending to be connected to financial institutions or government agencies, such as the BSP; and presenting fake documents, such as certificates of deposits, gold reserves, money transfers and other commercial papers, in order to trick people to invest, make deposits or pay fees.
  5. Investment scams – people or companies, usually unlicensed or unregistered, offering high-return, low-risk investments (“double your money, get rich quick schemes”).

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Fight scammers by taking the following steps shared by BSP: 

  • Scrutinize emails, texts and websites – phishing emails and fake websites usually have spelling and grammatical errors. These also use personal email addresses and unofficial website urls.
  • Background check – verify the identity and legitimacy of individuals or institutions requesting for your personal and account information, donations, investments or fees for unsolicited services.
  • Use strong passwords – make your account passwords unique, use different passwords for different accounts, and change passwords regularly.
  • Use multi-factor authentication – enable security questions, mobile pins (MPIN), one-time-pins (OTP), or text and email notifications for all your accounts as added layers of security when logging-in or confirming financial transactions.
  • Keep personal and account information private – do not share account numbers, log-in credentials, MPIN, OOTP, and CVV codes (number at the back of credit cards). Legitimate financial institutions and their authorized personnel will not ask you for these sensitive information.
  • Report suspicious communications, personnel or transactions to regulatory authorities – immediately seek assistance from your bank or financial institution. Report to regulatory authorities such as the BSP, when in receipt of suspicious emails, fake websites, imposters, or doubtful documents and transactions.

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