10 August 2020

Published also in Business Mirror

In a webinar hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) last July 20, experts from the cybercrime units of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) bared the tactics of online fraudsters and ways for exporters to defend themselves.

“Even before the pandemic, exporting has always been an online transaction between the exporter and the buyer. The criminals have also adapted the advancement in communication, targeting the less informed users of technology. And through this webinar, we hope to give you awareness to avoid the craftiness of these criminals,” said DTI Undersecretary for Trade Promotions Abdulgani M. Macatoman.

DICT Information System Analyst Alwell Muslid outlined some deceptive ways of online scammers. Usually, they fool their victims by setting up fake online stores, or e-commerce web sites, using Search Engine Optimization techniques to the top result in search engines like Google.

Some hackers target social-media administrator accounts and business e-mails to takeover official social-media accounts, or even steal identities. Muslid suggested for exporters to keep a team with a diverse skill set, including a cyber-security expert, or team.

“We should include security in all our business operations, especially online. This way we can avoid being scammed,” said Muslid.

For practical tips, he said exporters should have a closer look at the web site, by checking if the location appears on Google Maps, paying close attention to the URL, and cross-referencing the about us, contact, and shipping information are not copied from another site by pasting them in any search engine and running a search.

Employers should also secure their digital assets by creating an inventory, or assigning IT personnel, to manage this task. He said that the employers should revoke all the digital privileges, like e-mail addresses and access to official social-media accounts, before dismissing any employee from the company.

Meanwhile, Atty. Kristtia Amores of the NBI Cybercrime Division said that cybercrime was on the rise and criminals target micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) usually through social media.

For those transacting in e-commerce platforms, she said that buyers should never agree to leave the platform to finish the transaction somewhere else.

“The perpetrators, they play with the emotions of their victim. Minamadali sila sa transactions. Dapat hindi tayo basta magpapadala,” said Amores.

Last, she encouraged victims of cybercrime not to be ashamed of being a victim and file their complaints with the NBI.

Complainants can contact the NBI Cybercrime Division via e-mail at ccd@nbi.gov.ph or call 8523-8231 to 38 local 3454 or 3455. Likewise, the DICT Cybercrime Division can be reached at cert-ph@dict.gov.ph or 0921-494-2917.

This webinar is part of the Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP), a year-long program to educate exporters. Upcoming PEPC webinar will be on New Market, New Normal: Bringing MSMEs to the International eCommerce Marketplace on August 5 and 19. For more details on DTI-EMB programs and services, e-mail exports@dti.gov.ph.