Filipinos urged to ‘stay vigilant’ amid rising fraud cases

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    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant shift in consumer habits not only in the Philippines but across the world. As many Filipinos continue to stay indoors or strive to live under the “new normal”, there has been an increase in the adoption of digital banking and financial services owing to the safety and convenience of these platforms.

    “Over the past year, we have seen an accelerated growth in the use of digital methods of making payments as well as sending and receiving remittances. But the current trend that we are seeing infers that the increase would likely continue beyond the pandemic,” said Earl Melivo, Country Director for the Philippines, of cross-border digital payments company WorldRemit, who has seen consistent, double-digit growth month-on-month since it opened international transfers to domestic mobile wallets such as GCash, Paymaya and Coins.ph.

    However, as the volume of money circulating in the digital sphere increases, the number of fraud cases have also increased.

    According to a study from global insights company TransUnion released last March 2021, 44 percent of Filipino consumers have been targeted by digital fraud attempts within the previous three months, while enterprises have seen a 31 percent increase in fraud attempts compared to the previous year.

    According to WorldRemit, there are four industry-wide scams that Filipinos should be aware of this 2021: “email scams, online dating scams, shopping scams and Facebook scams.”

    “With the significant increase in digital fraud in the country, Filipino consumers need to be more wary of people they interact and transact with online, especially when money is involved. Not only should they protect their financial information, but they should also be wary of people asking for personal information such as their phone numbers, email addresses or ID numbers,” commented Melivo.