Online Abuse and Harassment Increasing in the Philippines
Too many people are losing control over their own online interactions with other people. Many of our investigation clients at Philippine PI have been victims of online abuse, extortion, romance scams and other crimes, and the worst part is that they let it happen for a long time before reporting it or hiring a professional investigator to help them. In today’s world, having clear evidence is key to keeping you safe and making smart decisions, and that is why investigators are in high demand.
While there’s no specific law in place requiring dating sites and apps to shield you from harassment, any reliable dating platform will have a robust reporting procedure in place designed to put you in control of the kinds of communications you receive. And it’s not just on you to push back on them, there’s a lot more that can be done. Share less online and remember that no site is 100% safe.
The clue to avoiding being in this situation is prevention! Remember you have the power to control who you talk to, how you want to communicate with them, and what kind of information you want to provide. Most of the dating apps do not verify their users, but you can hire a private investigator in Manila to verify your date online before getting into any kind of trouble.
There are other important methods to avoid being victim. One of the first mistakes that victims do is to accept the online scammers terms. For example, moving to a less secure method to continue communicating is not a smart idea. Online scammers prefer to talk through a platform that does not track or store the conversations, or exactly where they are originating from. Most reliable dating sites would have some kind of control and a way to report and track who is being abusive. However, if you agree to communicate outside of the dating site, you are losing control of the situation. Search the site for this information. For example, OK Cupid has it in its legal information.
The second greatest mistake is to agree to provide information that you wouldn’t give to a stranger in the street. If you do not feel like giving your full name, address and phone number to some stranger you just bumped into in the middle of the street, the why should you accept to do the same with a stranger online? Sharing personal information gives power to the abuser, because they will already know a lot about you. The more information you share and publish, the greater the risk.
Third, never share something that you would make you feel ashamed or embarrassed if somebody else saw it. Most of the online criminals who extort their victims use a nude picture as their means to blackmail them. Remember the previous advice? You are already at risk when you shared with a stranger your social media account and all the list of friends and family members that are part of your circle. When you hand an online criminal with material to extort you, they will use all the previous information you had provided. Sextortion in the Philippines is a big problem.
It is important to understand that you can avoid being a victim to online harassment, abuse and fraud. But for that, being precautious is the most important rule. Contact us if you need help!
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