How to Avoid Online Scams amid COVID-19 Lockdown

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday issued guidelines to avoid online scams as residents of Luzon are required to stay at home due to COVID-19 lockdown.

Those who were not exempted from enhanced community quarantine were mostly online either for work, entertainment, or getting information.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, people in the Philippines are already spending an average of 10 hours online every day, according to the 2019 report.

On Tiktok alone, a total of 6.90 million new Tiktok accounts and 4.20 million videos from the Philippines were reported on March 16, the second day of the lockdown.

As a result, hackers and scammers see this opportunity to those who are not mindful of their online safety.

The DICT issued tips on how to avoid online scams amid COVID-19 lockdown.

Also read: WHO: Ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen coronavirus symptoms

How to Avoid Online Scams amid COVID-19 Lockdown

1. Be wary of unverified and unproven COVID-19 websites or applications that require you to give your personal data.

Online scammers might use these websites and applications or might contain viruses, malware, ransomware, and other cyber-threat intrusions. Cybercriminals will do anything to obtain personal information, especially your financial and banking details. These could come disguised as solicitations or surveys about COVID-19, among others.

Furthermore, unproven apps might give a false sense of security or inaccurately expose you to risk. Keep your data and use only trusted websites and applications

2. Do not open messages or attachments from unknown sources.

Be wary of emails/messages, especially those concerning COVID-19. Take time to review the authenticity of the email or message, and do not click on the links or attachments.

3. Be wary of fake news. Review and confirm information/sources.

Stay tuned in to trusted government and news sites or social media platforms for real and updated information on COVID-19, and do not share unverified information about the situation as not to spread fake news that could incite more panic among the people.

If you have time to spare, help your friends by verifying the information or sources they share. Contact them directly to clarify whatever falsehood they shared and share with them verified facts about the COVID-19.