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Anti-cybercrime group shares measures to protect social media accoounts

Amid the emergence of dummy accounts in the social media, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group on Monday shared precautions netizens could take to keep their accounts from being "cloned."

According to the PNP - ACG, a Facebook user must make sure that his or her privacy settings are always updated or checked so as to limit those who can view or access his or her profile.

Authorities also reminded users to exercise vigilance when dealing with friend requests.

"It is important that you do some research on the Facebook account before accepting the request. Please note that some attackers create Facebook accounts purposely to stalk or monitor their target's activities on the platform," police said.

If the account is already copied, one must make a screenshot of the fake account, including the Facebook ID number or the universal resource locator (URL) of the account, and any other representation which will constitute proof that the identifying information of the victim was acquired, used, misused, possessed, transferred, altered, or deleted, without the consent of the owner thereof.

The PNP - ACG warned that duplicating existing and legitimate Facebook accounts is a violation of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The elements include the following:

  • There is/are identifying information belonging to a natural or juridical person;
  • Another person acquires, uses, misuses, transfers, possesses, alters, or deletes such identifying information;
  • Such act is committed intentionally; and
  • The act is committed without right.

The applicable penalty is prison mayor, which has a duration of six years and one day to 12 years of imprisonment, if the victim of computer-related identity theft suffered damage.

If the victim did not suffer damage, police said the penalty is prison correcional or imprisonment of six months and one day to six years. -NB,