Philippines battles surge in phishing scams amid COVID-19 lockdown

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MANILA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Philippine authorities have recorded a 100 percent rise in phishing cases and other fraudulent activities during the monthlong coronavirus lockdown, a ranking government official said on Saturday.

In an online media briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles warned Filipinos to be vigilant and to not easily give out bank or credit card details on line.

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

"While (online transactions) have helped many of us cope with the limitations brought about by the enhanced community quarantine, the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas report a 100 percent increase in phishing cases and warn everyone to be cautious when it comes to your bank details," he said.

Nograles also warned Filipinos to be vigilant against criminals soliciting donations online for COVID-19.

"We encourage everyone to double-check and verify these requests for donations," Nograles said, urging Filipinos to report dubious online solicitations to authorities.

Philippine authorities have also arrested a man who forges the signature of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to sell fake quarantine pass, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica said on Thursday.

Belgica said the suspect has been going around peddling fake quarantine passes that he sells up to 3,000 pesos (roughly 59 U.S. dollars).

Duterte imposed a quarantine in the entire main island of Luzon, including Metro Manila in mid-March, requiring the island's more than 50 million people to stay at home and restricts land, air and sea travel while the government implements measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Only those with quarantine pass can go out to buy food, medicine and other essentials. The government only issues one pass per household to do the errands.

The quarantine runs until April 30.

The Philippines now has 5,878 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 387 deaths and 487 recoveries. Enditem

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