Crimes have become more prevalent on the Internet and other digital channels as physical crimes declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield reported that the Philippines recorded a 47% decline in criminal incidents during the six-month quarantine period.

Task force chief Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar bared the total number of murder cases decreased by 22%, from 3,197 before the start of quarantine in mid-March to 2,509 during the quarantine.

The setback, however, is the significant rise of online crimes, particularly online scams that target businesses and vulnerable individuals, as well as online sexual exploitation on children (OSEC).

Data Connectors reported that nearly 190,000 cyberattacks had accumulated just from March to April. Most cybercriminals target mobile users due to the significant number of people relying on their smartphones.

OSEC cases, meanwhile, jumped by 264% during the lockdown, with 11 as the average age of the 381 victims, according to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) report.

The situation calls for an aggressive cybersecurity awareness campaign among Filipinos such as Globe Telecom’s #PlayItRight anti-online piracy program that educates consumers about illegal content consumption.

Globe has also encouraged netizens to utilize its recently launched reporting tool dubbed Stop Spam to report scams or fraudulent messages.

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