Official Statement: Be more vigilant, practice cyber hygiene

Background of Scam Watch Pilipinas 2023

The news of Medusa hackers leaking the PhilHealth data on the dark web after refusing to pay the ransom demand has become a source of national concern. Scam Watch Pilipinas is urging the public to be more vigilant online and start practicing cyber hygiene to fend off any form of online scams whether it’s related to the PhilHealth incident or not.

Scam Watch Pilipinas is introducing a new attitude to practice cyber hygiene called MAGHANDA (Be Prepared):

  • Change and use strong, unique passwords: Regularly change and always employ complex passwords for all your accounts and applications: Banking and Financial, E-Commerce, Email, Social Media, Entertainment and others.
  • Secure your accounts: Always Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible for an additional layer of security.
  • Keep your apps and software up-to-date: Regularly update your computer, smartphone, and other devices, as well as the apps and software you use. These updates often contain security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit.
  • Install a reliable antivirus software and firewall: These tools can provide additional protection by detecting and blocking malicious software.

Scam Watch Pilipinas is also reiterating the other four attitudes needed to prevent netizens from becoming a victim of cyber fraud released last month:

  • MAGDAMOT (Be stingy). Never give or lend money online especially to people you don’t know, or you just met. Majority of messages in emails, SMS or social media that asks for money is a form of scam. The best way not be a victim of fraud is to be stingy online.
  • MAGDUDA (Be suspicious). Always be suspicious and never immediately trust “too good to be true offers” in messages, emails, and social media. Double check and always verify authenticity of the sender before giving out personal information. 
  • MANG-ISNOB (Be a snob). Ignore messages in SMS, emails and social media with threats or warning coming from banking, financial and e-commerce institutions especially if you know that you have no pending business or transaction with them. Always save the number of you family, friends, colleagues in your address book so you can ignore callers and SMS with unknown numbers.
  • MAGSUMBONG (Report). Always report incidents of scam to the Inter-Agency Response Center (I-ARC) Hotline 1326. dditional I-ARC numbers are also available: 0947-714-7105 (SMART), 0966-976-5971 (Globe), and 0991-481-4225 (DITO). Or you can go to connect to the I-ARC hotlines using your mobile phone.

Incorporating these habits into our daily digital lives can create a formidable first line of defense against scams. 

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