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Thursday, December 7, 2023

‘Be hard to reach to avoid scams’

The public should ignore calls requesting personal information or PIN (personal identification number) codes, and being more difficult to reach can help them avoid mobile phone scams, an official said Sunday.

Undersecretary Alexander Ramos of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) said banks or telecommunication companies do not ask for personal information through calls.

Their advice, he said, is to go to physical branches and talk to a bank or telco officer personally to update personal information.

It is also not advisable to respond to calls and texts from unknown sources, Ramos said in a Teleradyo interview, because those could be from cybercriminals who use a system called “click trap.”

He said scammers can generate a list of numbers of potential victims through AI (artificial intelligence) and call or send text messages to see if the numbers are active.

Once a user responds, he said, scammers could unleash “all forms” of attacks.

“If you answer, you’re caught. It means they know that there is someone behind that number,” Ramos said, noting that cybercriminals have shifted their targets from institutions to individuals.

He advised phone users to prevent phone apps from tracking their location by turning mobile data off when they don’t need to be online.

“This is among the data collected by scammers and cybercriminals to know the behavior of a user. Remember that personal information, PIN codes, and photos are now becoming the new commodity online. These are sold at a high price,” he said.

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