In a bold move to combat cyber fraud and online scams, Manila Bulletin (MB) has taken the initiative to launch Scam Watch Pilipinas, an advocacy movement aimed at empowering Filipinos to protect themselves in the ever-evolving digital landscape. This groundbreaking campaign, developed in collaboration with government agencies and brand partners, seeks to raise awareness and provide practical advice to individuals, equipping them with the necessary tools to identify and avoid scams. Spearheaded by Art Samaniego, editor of MB TechNews, and Jocel de Guzman, founder and president of Truth360, this movement aims to transform the technology section into a powerful platform for technological advocacy.

The exponential growth of cyber fraud and online scams in the digital age necessitated the creation of #ScamWatchPH. Art Samaniego stresses the importance of collective efforts from both the public and private sectors to combat these threats. By fostering partnerships and encouraging collaboration, #ScamWatchPH aims to become a valuable resource for individuals seeking information about various types of scams and preventive measures. Through knowledge-sharing and equipping individuals with the necessary tools, this movement empowers people to protect themselves effectively in the digital age.

To establish an effective framework for #ScamWatchPH, Manila Bulletin has joined forces with Truth360, a start-up reputation management brand led by Jocel de Guzman. Together, Samaniego and De Guzman will co-lead the movement as convenors. Recognizing the need for a more organized and impactful effort, Samaniego explains that the primary goal of #ScamWatchPH is to educate individuals about prevalent online scams and empower them to take action against scammers. Although completely eradicating scams may be an uphill battle, the movement aims to significantly reduce their occurrence and minimize the harm inflicted on innocent lives. Through educational campaigns, workshops, and collaboration with law enforcement agencies, #ScamWatchPH endeavors to effectively combat cybercriminals.

Education and awareness campaigns lie at the core of #ScamWatchPH. The movement will provide practical advice on how to identify and avoid scams, teaching individuals to approach unsolicited messages with skepticism, verify the authenticity of websites, and safeguard personal information online. Furthermore, #ScamWatchPH emphasizes the importance of keeping software up to date, utilizing firewalls and antivirus software, and exercising caution when clicking on links.

An innovative aspect of #ScamWatchPH is the integration of a reporting tool powered by ScamGuard, an AI system developed by technology advocate Alvin Veroy. Serving as the executive technology advisor of the movement and the technology director of the AI department of Fosshub, Veroy has played a crucial role in the development of this proprietary AI tool. The reporting tool is currently in its final stages of development and will soon undergo testing by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), National Privacy Commission (NPC), and Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC).

The #ScamWatchPH Team has already begun extending invitations to various government agencies and brand partners to join the movement. With a target launch before the fourth quarter of the year, #ScamWatchPH aspires to create a united front against cyber fraud and online scams, ensuring a safer digital environment for all Filipinos.

In conclusion, Manila Bulletin’s Scam Watch Pilipinas movement aims to empower Filipinos to protect themselves against cyber fraud and online scams through education, awareness campaigns, and partnerships with government agencies and brand partners. By equipping individuals with knowledge and tools to identify and avoid scams, and through the integration of innovative reporting technology, #ScamWatchPH endeavors to significantly reduce the occurrence of online scams and safeguard innocent lives in the digital age.