July 12, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the passage of a law requiring people to register their SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) cards, cybercrimes committed using a SIM card went up by 190 percent from January to June, totaling 4,104 cases compared to 1,415 during the same period in 2022.
The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) reported on Tuesday that most of this year’s cases were financial crimes and online scams involving digital and online wallets such as GCash (3,587), Maya (49) and Coins.ph (four).
However, the police pointed out a silver lining: Their resolution rate also went up from 70 percent in 2022 to 95 percent for the first half of this year.
Although there were fewer text scams at 18 for the first half of the year compared to 23 in 2022, there was a 56-percent increase in bank fraud complaints — to 445 from 285 last year.
In a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Monday, PNP-ACG Director Brig. Gen. Sidney Hernia acknowledged the surge in cybercrimes, saying that many of these involved “click the link” scams, which target mobile wallets and online banking subscribers.
“The victim doesn’t know that if he or she clicks the link, it would lead to a site for updating bank details. If he or she falls into the scheme, there is a big possibility that the scammers would get a hold of his or her bank details; hence, the money would be transferred to another account,” he added.
Hernia said that they had tapped stakeholders and mobile wallet providers for the conduct of widespread information and awareness campaigns against such scams.
While he cited the need to enhance his unit’s capability in conducting investigations in addition to getting more advanced equipment, he also stressed the need for additional manpower to handle the growing number of cases.