November 30, 2023

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

Making available too much information online can hurt digital transactions.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reiterated its advice to the public to be mindful of the information they give out online and be wary of downloading mobile applications and opening links that scammers take advantage of.

BSP North Luzon Bank Officer IV Rodora Teresa Openiano said good cyber hygiene practices are a must these days as the number of businesses offering digital payment options and consumers maintaining electronic money accounts continue to increase.

In 2021, the BSP listed 27.5 million e-money accounts, surpassing the 18 million bank account holders.

Openiano said while the BSP encourages the public to embrace digital payments, it does not discount incidents where accounts are hacked or funds get lost but added these are isolated cases that are usually settled at the level of financial service providers.

“Financial service providers are heavily regulated and they are up to the task of keeping their clients safe. However, the safety of digital transactions is not only a responsibility of the BSP and financial service providers but also a responsibility of the clients,” she said.

To safeguard digital transactions, the BSP advised the public to avoid posting their personal and financial information, such as identification cards online.

Openiano said scammers can steal the ID and use the information to avail of loans from online lending apps.

Mobiles apps should also be downloaded only from verified Android or App stores and not from the links on social media or the ones sent through emails.

Openiano said links sent through SMS are also risky because these are usually used by unscrupulous individuals to copy the contacts stored in one’s mobile phone.

Connecting to public wi-fi can also compromise one’s digital security.

Openiano said except for the free WiFi offered by government institutions, connecting to private and unknown networks is another risky behavior that allows potential scammers to access one’s information.

Multi-factor authentication required by financial service providers should also not be frowned upon, as well as requests for one-time PIN as long as these are protected and should never be shared.

The BSP is conducting continuous information, education, and communication campaign on digital financial literacy, with online transactions largely becoming the norm in the country. – Jane B. Cadalig