By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, February 16, 2024; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – Cases of online scams in the country dropped by 40 percent in January this year, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) said Friday.

In a statement, ACG chief Maj. Gen. Sidney Hernia said 624 cases were logged last month, from 1,045 cases in January last year.

Hernia said the ongoing establishment of PNP ACG offices in various regions, provinces and districts, combined with efforts to set up cybercrime desks within police stations, has been instrumental in the ongoing battle against cyber fraud.

To bolster these measures, he said, the PNP would continue holding comprehensive training, seminars and lectures for personnel assigned to cybercrime desks to sharpen their skills and deepen their expertise, ultimately contributing to the creation of a safer online environment for everyone.

The ACG chief also said the cooperation of complainants and the effectiveness of law enforcement operations send a strong message to cybercriminals.

“As they witnessed their peers being brought to justice and their operations disrupted, they were compelled to reconsider their actions, ultimately leading to a significant decline in illegal online activities,” Hernia added.

Hernia, meanwhile, urged netizens to be vigilant in their online activities.

“It is imperative that we continually educate ourselves to safeguard against falling victim to online scams,” he said.

In a command conference on Thursday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. directed the police force to improve its prevention, detection and investigation of cases to combat cybercrimes considering the current sophisticated and technology-based crime modalities.

The PNP has already proposed the establishment of a Cybersecurity Center for the monitoring, detection, protection and mitigation of and response to cybersecurity issues and incidents in the agency’s information and communications technology infrastructure. (PNA)