THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will establish cyber security desks in all police stations in light of the increase of cybercrime cases in the country.
In a press conference on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, PNP chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Colonel Jean Fajardo said the training and upskilling of police investigators for cyber security is ongoing.
“(This is) to make sure na doon pa lamang sa level pa lamang ng police station ay alam ng ating mga police investigators kung ano ‘yung gagawin nila. So ang training ‘yung introduction to cyber-related crimes,” she said.
(This is to make sure that even at the level of the police station, our police investigators know what they are going to do. So the training is the introduction to cyber-related crimes.)
The initiative is in response to the order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the PNP to strengthen its cyber security system as he emphasized the importance of training among police personnel and investment in technology to address cybercrime and cyber security.
Based on data from the Anti-Cybercrime Group, the reported cybercrime incidents are on an upward trend from 2021 to 2023.
A total of 6,332 cybercrime incidents were recorded in 2021, 11,523 in 2022 and it went even higher in 2023 with a total of 19,472 incidents.
From January to February 2024, 1,502 cybercrime incidents were recorded.
These incidents include sextortion, online scamming, identity theft, online threats, data interference, computer-related fraud, love scam, cyber libel and violence against women and children.
Online scamming, identity theft and cyber libel were the top three cybercrimes reported.
In a statement, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. warned anew of love scams, a type of scheme employed to trick individuals into giving the scammers money by gaining their adoration and trust.
“Yung love scam, tinitingnan nila (scammers) through your profile kung sino yung malungkot, nag-iisa. Ano yung music na hilig mo, ano yung hilig mong kinakain. Then yung weakness mo, doon ka pinapasok. Talagang sindikato,” he said.
(The love scam, they (scammers) look through your profile to see who is sad, alone. What music do you like, what do you like to eat, then your weaknesses. This is really a syndicate.)
“Love scam, talagang nagna-number one ngayon ‘yan (has topped the list now). So I guess, ang importante dito (what’s important here) is everyone should be aware of these things,” he added.
He also urged parents and guardians to be watchful of their children’s online activity as they are vulnerable and susceptible to online crimes.
The number of reported love scams increased by more than 50 percent, from 94 cases in 2022 to 168 cases in 2023.
PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. admitted that the cyber world has opened more opportunities for the criminal minds.
“We live in an advanced digital age. Napakadali na lang po para sa mga manloloko na kumuha ng pagkakakilanlan ng ibang tao (It's very easy for fraudsters to take the identity of other people), most usually those who are physically pleasing to attract their victims,” he said.
Fajardo urged the public to be more careful of their transactions online, noting that suspects in the cyber world are faceless, making it more hard for them to be arrested. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)