Philippines Launches 'Be Wais' Campaign to Combat Rising Online Fraud

The Philippine government launches the "Be Wais" Civic Education Campaign against Fraud and Scams to combat the alarming rise in online fraud and scams. The campaign aims to raise public awareness and empower Filipinos to identify and avoid fraudulent activities online.

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Nitish Verma
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Philippines Launches 'Be Wais' Campaign to Combat Rising Online Fraud

Philippines Launches 'Be Wais' Campaign to Combat Rising Online Fraud

The Philippine government has joined forces with the groups, work, private, sectors, launch, campaign to launch the "Be Wais" Civic Education Campaign against Fraud and Scams, aiming to combat the alarming rise in online fraud and scams in the country. The campaign seeks to raise public awareness about various types of scams and empower Filipinos to identify and avoid fraudulent activities online.

The urgency of the campaign is underscored by the staggering 70% increase in cybercrime incidents recorded by the Philippine National Police in 2023, with over 19,000 cases reported, 14,000 of which were related to online scams. The situation has further escalated in the first quarter of 2024, with a 20% rise in cybercrime cases compared to the last quarter of 2023. The Philippines also topped the list for online shopping scam rates in the 2023 Asia Scam Report, with an alarming online scam rate of 35.9%.

Why this matters: The surge in online fraud and scams poses a significant threat to the financial security and trust of individuals, particularly in the digital economy. If left unchecked, it can have far-reaching consequences on the country's economic growth and stability.

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla highlighted the pervasive nature of cybercrime, stating, "90 percent of all crimes these days have cybercrime content. We no longer see robbers entering banks with guns. Today's criminals utilize advanced digital technologies, including smartphones and computers, to orchestrate theft." The campaign aims to address this growing threat by promoting transparent and ethical practices in digital marketplaces and supporting overseas Filipino workers and their families in managing their hard-earned money wisely.

The "Be Wais" campaign brings together a broad coalition of partners, including government agencies such as the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Justice, Department of Migrant Workers, Department of Trade and Industry, and Securities and Exchange Commission. Private sector partners like Meta and SM Supermalls, advocacy groups like Bayan Academy and Citizen Watch Philippines, and international partners like the United States Agency for International Development Philippines are also collaborating in this effort.

DMW Secretary Hans Cacdac emphasized the campaign's focus on empowerment, stating, "Empowerment is the cornerstone of our vision. With collaborative initiatives from our partner agencies and concerned stakeholders, we continue to support OFWs and their families in managing their hard-earned money and in helping them make wise financial decisions." USAID Philippines deputy director of economic development and governance Eric Florimon Reed underscored the importance of consumer trust for a thriving digital economy, while Bayan Family of Foundations chairman and president Francisco Enrique Bernardo III urged vigilance against scammers' increasingly creative tactics.

The launch of the "Be Wais" campaign marks a significant step in the Philippines' fight against the rising tide of online fraud and scams. By bringing together a diverse coalition of stakeholders and empowering citizens with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves, the campaign aims to create a safer and more trustworthy digital environment for all Filipinos.

Key Takeaways

  • Philippines launches "Be Wais" campaign to combat online fraud and scams.
  • 70% increase in cybercrime incidents in 2023, with 19,000 cases reported.
  • Philippines tops Asia Scam Report with 35.9% online scam rate.
  • Campaign aims to raise awareness and empower citizens to identify and avoid scams.
  • Multi-stakeholder coalition includes gov't agencies, private sector, and advocacy groups.