Scams in the Digital Age

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MIGGY CASTAÑEDA

MIGGY CASTAÑEDA

Technology is a fantastic tool. Leaps and bounds in the last decade have changed the way people live their lives, and go about handling their business. You could essentially telecommute for work, or conduct business from anywhere in the world.

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Unfortunately, that also means that the potential for cyber crime has also evolved. Of these evolving crimes, the art of the scam has become one of the leading causes for loss among Filipinos. In 2015, an estimated 1 Million Filipinos lost 25 Billion pesos to various scams. This was according to a report from Lalaine Monserate, assistant director in charge of investigations and prosecution at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Imagine these scams moving online disguising to provide quick and easy ways to either make money or cheap goods and services. While most people are more willing to ignore these messages or ads, there are people who’ll fall for some of these owing to how elaborate they can be.

The idea that you can make money with minimal effort is the dream. Plenty of people would like to be able to work from home and make large amounts in a short span of time. What some may not understand is that being able to do something like this takes time – establishing contacts and making a name for you online is a difficult task.

Thanks to social media and the rest of the internet, it’s easy to get targeted by ads that perpetuate the quick money scheme. It doesn’t help that they have catchy lines like “I earned x amount in a week! Click here to find out how.” When it happens to appear on social media sites, people might be quicker to click the link than they are to check whether it’s real. This could lead to compromised e-mail accounts and stolen identities. They’ve gone from being in English to adapting to whatever language is spoken in the area, making them harder to ignore.

A report on why long-term con artists like Aman Futures work is because Filipinos can be ‘too trusting’, Sociology Professor Bro. Clifford Sorita highlighted this as one of three factors. Given the propensity for people to lean towards believing things they simply see online, it isn’t true for just Filipinos.

Take every price with a grain of salt. Online auction websites are rife with people looking to take advantage of
deals that are too good to be true, only to end up scammed out of their hard-earned cash.

It isn’t wrong to trust something you see online but you need more than one perspective in order to confirm whether or not what you’re looking at is the real deal.

A con artist is perfectly capable of weaving words large and small to manipulate one’s thoughts towards their goals. By the same token, they have ways of luring people online to believe their legitimacy, starting the chain reaction that ends with your pockets a little emptier.

The digital age is rife with its own dangers, easily avoided if one just does a little more research and not take everything at face value.

MiggyCastañeda writes about personal finance for MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.

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