Imagine you’re scrolling through social media, and suddenly, an ad pops up promising unbelievable deals on the latest gadgets or lightning-fast ways to double your money.
Sounds tempting, right? But hold on, because in the digital age, these enticing offers could be cleverly disguised scams aiming to steal your hard-earned pesos.
As a registered financial planner, I see the heartbreaking impact of online scams firsthand. People lose their savings, their trust, and sometimes even their sense of security.
That’s why I joined forces with other advocates at Google Philippines’ #SaferwithGoogle event, eager to learn how to protect myself, my clients, and my followers from these digital threats.
Led by Mervin Teo Wenke, Google’s head for communications and public affairs, the event packed a punch with insights and tools to help us Filipinos outsmart these digital tricksters.
He emphasized the importance of spreading awareness and critical thinking. Scammers rely on fear, urgency, and the illusion of scarcity to manipulate us. By staying informed about common scams and taking a moment to question suspicious offers, we can significantly reduce our risk.
Here’s the key takeaway: knowledge is power.
Here’s how we can use that power to stay safe:
1. Be Wary of the “Wow” Factor:
Remember that childhood lesson about free candy from strangers? It applies online too! If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Scammers often dangle irresistible deals or exploit our desire for quick riches through get-rich-quick schemes or fake investment opportunities. Do your research, verify information independently, and don’t let greed cloud your judgment.
2. Guard Your Personal Info Like Fort Knox:
Think twice before sharing sensitive details like passwords, bank account numbers, or even your home address over unsecured channels.
Stick to official websites and verified phone numbers when conducting online transactions. Remember, legitimate companies will never pressure you to share such information through unsolicited calls or messages.
3. Verify, Verify, Verify!
Don’t be afraid to question! If you receive a suspicious email, text, or social media message, don’t click on any links or attachments.
Instead, verify the sender’s identity by contacting them through official channels. Check for misspellings in URLs and website addresses, as these can be red flags for phishing attempts.
4. Don’t Let Urgency Cloud Your Thinking:
Scammers thrive on panic. They create a sense of urgency or fear to pressure you into making quick decisions without thinking things through.
Take a deep breath, step back, and carefully evaluate the situation before taking any action. Remember, legitimate opportunities won’t disappear if you take the time to be cautious.
5. Be a Scam Buster:
Knowledge is power, but sharing it is even more empowering! Report suspicious activity to Google or relevant authorities to help protect others from falling victim to the same scams.
Beyond these tips, the Google team shared some amazing tools:
- The Safe With Google website: A treasure trove of resources and educational content to stay informed about online safety. (https://safety.google/)
- Two-factor authentication (2FA): Add an extra layer of security to your online accounts by enabling 2FA. Most platforms offer this option – use it!
- Google Password Manager: Generate and store strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. No more password reuse, no more worries!
Remember, while technology has brought immense benefits, it’s our responsibility as users to navigate it safely.
By staying informed, using the right tools, and practicing caution, we can outsmart the scammers and protect our financial well-being.
Together, we can create a safer online environment for everyone and we can build a #SaferwithGoogle Philippines!
P.S. A big thank you to Google Philippines for organizing this insightful event. I even had the pleasure of exchanging thoughts with Mariz Umali from GMA News, who passionately reported on the event in her 24 Oras news segment. (starts at 32:42)