Thursday, June 20, 2024

Senate bill filed protecting seniors from text scams, elder fraud

The continuing proliferation of cybercrimes which spiked 100 percent at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, targeting mostly retired senior citizens, has prompted Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada to propose a legislation to protect them from fraudulent activities.

Walang manloloko kung walang magpapaloko. At walang mabibiktima kung sila ay may alam sa mga istilo ng mga scammers,” Estrada said as he pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 671, which seeks the establishment of an inter-agency centralized service to ward off scammers from carrying out their nefarious schemes through periodic information dissemination to senior citizens, their families, and caregivers.

The lawmaker underscored the need to look after the vulnerable sectors against fraudsters as he noted that most elderly consumers are unfamiliar with today’s technology, which is taken advantage of by organized crime syndicates who use social media and other online platforms in carrying out their scams.

Under SBN 671, or the proposed Senior Citizens’ Fraud Education Act, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be the lead agency and would be supported by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health (DOH), and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

The group will be required to formulate and disseminate through mail, telemarketing, and the Internet methods on how to report and file complaints related to fraud schemes targeting inform senior citizens and other vulnerable groups.

The DTI shall likewise be mandated to coordinate and establish partnerships with the National Commission of Senior Citizens and the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in conducting information dissemination campaigns.

The DTI shall also collaborate with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Insurance Commission (IC), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in ascertaining the various nature of scams and cybercrimes.

A website will be maintained to provide the needed information to help detect scams related to financial products and services, lending and investment instruments, insurance products, text scams and other fraudulent activities.

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