Digital readiness, safe cyberspace: do we have it?


“A safe cyberspace is vital to digital readiness as consumers are now relying on online connectivity for daily transactions.
“Unfortunately, the exponential rise of online transactions has created a borderless hunting ground for unscrupulous criminals to prey on consumers who have just started to learn their way around the online platforms.”
This statement from Professor Louie Montemar, who , with consumer group Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3), alerts the public and calls on the Government to crack down on online scams amid an increasing number of victims during the pandemic.


MANILA — BK3 convenor Professor Louie Montemar cites Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data where digital payments and transactions surged by over 5,000 percent during the pandemic as people have opted to do business using e-commerce and e-payment platforms instead of face-to-face transactions.

The professor notes that although it is very encouraging that independent reports have recognized improving internet speeds but digital readiness does not end with fast internet speeds or digital infrastructure build-up alone.

“It is equally important to have a secure digital space where online users and consumers are safe from scams such as phishing, smishing, and other schemes that target credit card holders and e-wallet users,” says Mr Montemar.

He says the Government should further engage the private sector telcos and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in a sustainable information and communications campaign to educate netizens on how to recognize the deceptive tactics of cybercriminals.

These “dirty tactics” include smishing where text messages from people pretending to be from reputable companies are tricking consumers into revealing personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers.

“We must remain vigilant against the growing threat of online scams. BK3 denounces cybercrime in all of its forms and calls on all Government, the digital technology industry, NGOs (non-government organizations), and CSOs (civil society organizations) to unite in purging the internet of scammers and other perpetrators of exploitation and abuse,” says Montemar. (JD/Headline PH)


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