PHL lost $144.78 million to online fraudsters–UK think tank


Less than a fourth of the estimated cybercrime victim losses are reported in the Philippines, according to a United Kingdom-based think tank.

Based on its latest study, UK-based research firm Comparitech said the estimated cybercrime losses in the Philippines amount to $144.78 million. However, only $21.72 million of these losses are associated with known cases.

The think tank said only 4.49 cases per 100,000 people are reported in the country. This translates to around 32,347 cases based on 2018 data.

“When you analyze the monetary values involved and see the minimal amounts that tend to be recovered from cybercrime cases, it’s not hard to see why many criminals are eyeing up the cyber market. With such huge gains and little to no risk, it’s arguably a win-win for cybercriminals and a lose-lose for the rest of us,” Comparitech said.

Comparitech explained their research shows cybercrime can be “an online data breach to a flurry of botnet attacks.”

They said they considered wide-scale attacks and more on targeted crimes that seek to exploit individuals, steal someone’s data, or illegally access computer systems or networks, as cybercrimes.

Comparitech also said there were a total of 4,852 cybercrimes registered from January to November 2019 in the Philippines.

This was 18 percent higher than the 4,103 cybercrime cases investigated in 2018 and nearly 80 percent higher than the 2,284 cases of 2017.

In 2019, majority of cases at 24 percent related to online libel with 1,166 reported in total. This was closely followed by scams at 1,016; photo and video voyeurism, 615; identity theft, 466; and online threats, 394 cases.

“From March to October 2020, [data showed] 869 online scam cases had been reported, suggesting the figure would be higher than previous years,” Comparitech said.

Data showed that over $129 billion has been lost by victims of cybercrime across 67 countries Comparitech covered. Globally, this amounts to $318 billion.

Comparitech said their estimates also showed that 899.57 victims per 100,000 people fall victim to cybercrime each year, amounting to 71.1 million victims of cybercrime globally.

Based on the Comparitech data, the country with the biggest cybercrime losses is the United States with 5.28 million victims losing $28 billion.

This was followed by Brazil with 5.8 million victims losing over $26 billion; the United Kingdom, 4.88 million victims losing $17.4 billion; and Russia, 3.4 million victims losing $15.2 billion.

“With the lack of transparency and reporting around these types of crimes, it is difficult to gauge the true extent of the problem. Many industry reports create astronomical figures that are difficult to comprehend, but until we’re able to see the real cost of these crimes on a country-by-country basis, cybercriminals will continue to have the upper hand,” Comparitech said.

The think tank said their research team examined the top 100 countries by GDP, looking at the cybercrime reports available and the figures and categories involved. They found figures for 67 countries but only 15 reports of the monetary values involved.

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