Online classifieds site OLX.ph has drawn up a list of local legislation that netizens can use to guide and protect themselves from online scams. Here are four laws that can help protect you from online scams:
The Cybercrime Prevention Act
The Cybercrime Prevention Act covers most online scams. The Cybercrime Prevention Act, also known as the Republic Act 10175, was created to address illegal activities committed that involve information and communication technologies like mobile phones, computers, software, and the Internet.
While the law mostly deals with hacking, identity theft, and data interference, it covers all crimes that are listed and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, if they are committed through information and communication technologies. The Cyber Crime Prevention Act increases the penalty for these crimes, making the penalty longer or graver.
The Revised Penal Code
Received something of poorer quality or lesser quantity from a seller? Chances are you’ve been swindled. Swindling happens when a seller sends you a product that is of a different quality, quantity, or material from what he promised and what you paid for. Swindling (or estafa), which concerns most online scams is punishable under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.
Not a lot of people know this but you could also report individuals for theft if they refuse to fulfill their part of the transaction and run off with your money or with a product you had sent them. Theft is definitely against the law and is covered by Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Consumer Act of the Philippines
Any form of dishonesty by a seller before, during, and after a sale is punishable under Republic Act 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines. This would mean that you could be fined or could even go to jail if you convince a buyer to enter into a sale through acts of concealment, false representation, or fraudulent manipulation.
A simple example of this would be when a seller tells a prospective buyer that a product that is brand new when it is in fact second hand. Ever been duped into buying an expensive designer bag that turned out to be a counterfeit? You could also complain for violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
Republic Act of 10173
Keep in mind that generally, whenever you transact with a seller, he or she can only collect, process and retain your personal information with your consent. This includes your mobile number, email address, or any other personal details you might’ve shared throughout the course of the transaction.
According to the Data Privacy Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10173, personal information collected from you should only be used for the purpose of the sale and cannot be shared with anyone else. As a buyer, you give your personal information to the seller only to enter in a sale with him. The seller shouldn’t share your contact details to other people for any other purpose. It is illegal for him or her to share your mobile number or email address to other sellers who might want to offer you other services.
Did you know that violation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine of anywhere between P500, 000 to P2 million?
Word of advice: if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Always remember these four laws so that you’ll be more comfortable when you do transactions online.