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What are the laws against online scamming in the Philippines?

We at OLX have always made it our goal to create and foster win-win exchanges within the online community. So what happens when there is a case of online scamming? In here, we share some useful information that would help educate consumers on how to have a winning exchange, making buying and selling safer, more secure, and an overall great experience!

There is no denying that there are some cases of people who take advantage of the online platform to scam other users. But online classifieds such as OLX will always make it a point to maintain a safe platform. In such cases, here are four Philippine Anti-Cybercrime Laws that can help protect users like you from online scams.

THE CYBERCRIME PREVENTION ACT

The Cybercrime Prevention Act covers most online scams. Also known as the Republic Act 10175, this 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 (see below) if they are committed through information and communication technologies. The Cybercrime 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 secondhand. 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.

THE DATA PRIVACY ACT OF 2012

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 in OLX, 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 Php 500, 000 to 2 million?

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Word of advice: if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Always remember these 4 laws so that you’ll be more comfortable when you do transactions online. In the unfortunate event you get scammed, OLX can connect you to the right group of individuals to help you get to the bottom of the fraudulent transaction.

It is advisable to reach out to OLX first, by contacting us via our website or our Facebook page. You may check our guide on how to report online scammers that you encountered on OLX. Through reporting these cases and flagging these users, you also help keep the OLX platform free from scams. But don’t worry; your privacy is still intact as OLX makes sure it only gives information that is relevant in processing the complaint if needed to take to it to the next level.

Help the community win the battle against fraud by keeping yourself informed. Knowledge is the key! Remember, this article was written for your information only. Should you stumble upon any of these issues, we recommend that you reach out to a qualified attorney for legal advice.