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Cybersafe February 27, 2023

5 smart questions to ask yourself to avoid online scams

The start of the year is a good time to reflect on the goals we want to achieve both in our digital and physical lives. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves to adapt safe and healthy online habits and brush up on our cybersecurity knowledge.


We know how technological advancements have made banking more convenient for Filipinos. Such progress, however, has opened us up to new threats such as phishing—a cyber-attack disguised as a text, call, or email that tricks users into giving cybercriminals sensitive information such as bank account numbers and passwords. 


To avoid getting scammed, it is important to remain vigilant and seek ways to enhance our cybersecurity practices from time to time. 


How do you know if you’re cyber safe? And what can be done to avoid tricky and fraudulent situations? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I ignore suspicious emails and text messages?


At this point, everyone has received messages from unknown phone numbers. These messages contain fake job offers, money-making schemes, and bogus promo prizes.


You could have also received a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a bank representative. The person may tell you a certain issue with your account, and that you need to hand over your bank account number, username, and password.


The best way to deal with such suspicious messages is to ignore them. Do not reply, block their numbers, and report them to the authorities instead. 

  • Do I use a secure network when doing online banking transactions?


It is convenient to connect to free WiFi in public places such as restaurants, airports, and coffee shops, but they are not always safe.


Be aware that cybercriminals can hack your devices if you are connected to a public WiFi, access your personal and sensitive information, and steal your identity.


To prevent cybercriminals from stealing your personal data, make sure to connect to a secure network (such as your WiFi at home), especially when conducting online banking transactions.  

  • Do I regularly update my passwords and enable two-factor authentication in my account?

If you frequently shop online and use credit cards as the mode of payment, it is highly recommended to change your passwords every three months and enable two-factor authenticationa security feature that requires a second security code before proceeding with payments.


You can also enable your card to verify a transaction via one-time-passwords to ensure your safety and protection during your shopping spree online. Remember to shop responsibly!

  • Do I report suspicious activities in my account to the bank and government authorities?


Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. All stakeholders in the banking system should work together to achieve a cyber secure environment.


If you have been a victim of an online scam or you have encountered any suspicious activities in your account, do not hesitate to report incidents to your bank and government authorities. This way, they can investigate the crime, intercept the scheme of the cybercriminals, and take necessary preventive actions.


If you answer “yes” to these questions, then you are on the right track to becoming a cyber safe citizen. On the other hand, if you have answered “no” to some of the questions, take your time to read cybersecurity tips and know more ways on how to protect yourself online.


Cyberthreats continue to evolve on a daily basis. Thus, it is important to stay vigilant and continuously educate ourselves to avoid falling victim to cybercrimes.


May this year be a year of growth and prosperity, and may it be a fruitful one as well for your cybersecurity.