CRIMINALS are increasingly leveraging rapid advancements in technology to deceive and scam people.
So the Philippine National Police has warned the public against the so-called “12 Scams of Christmas.”
1. Fake shipping and delivery notifications;
2. Fake online charity scams;
3. Fake shopping websites;
4. Fake online sellers;
5. Free trial scams;
6. Fake Christmas gift card scams;
7. Tech support scams;
8. Crypto investment scams;
9. Fake relative/friend scams;
10. Dating scams;
11. Foreign exchange investment scams; and
12. Loan scams.
According to Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of Police Brigadier General Anthony Aberin, individuals who receive such notifications on Facebook or email should refrain from clicking on the links.
He suggests reporting them as junk and not falling for them, as scammers often use fake notifications to trick people, especially in scams related to fake shipping, online charity solicitation, fake shopping websites, or fake online sales.
The most common victims of the 12 scams of Christmas are those targeted by fake relative/friend scams, where individuals believe the person chatting with them is a friend or family member.
If there is any doubt about the authenticity of a request, Pelare recommends contacting the family or friend to confirm if their social media account has been compromised.
Pelare acknowledged the difficulty in monitoring these activities for law enforcement, as they cannot deploy personnel online.
He emphasized individual responsibility in using social media, urging people to counter-check notifications by calling or using other platforms to verify whether their relatives or friends are indeed sending something. Otherwise, they may fall victim to scams.
Pelare added that pursuing online criminals can be challenging. This type of online extortion has become more prevalent, even with the implementation of laws such as the SIM Registration Act, as criminals continue to find ways to victimize innocent individuals.