Infographic courtesy of Tech Wire Asia

MANILA – The Philippine Transportation and Communications (PhilTraComm) group, a non-governmental advocacy organization dedicated to combating fake news and fraudulent activities, has echoed the apprehensions of a government official who fell prey to a fabricated social media account featuring his unauthorized photograph.

“This incident serves as a glaring example of identity theft, wherein an individual’s photo is exploited to fabricate an official government social media account, which cyber scammers can manipulate for their malicious agendas,” Aio Bautista, the lead convenor of PhilTraComm, said.

“However, this occurrence is merely the tip of the iceberg. Numerous cases exist where individuals’ identities are compromised, and their social media accounts are abused by online hackers for illicit purposes. It’s encouraging to witness a growing resistance against such activities.”

The PhilTraComm spokesperson further emphasized that this incident should serve as a cautionary tale for all government officials, emphasizing the need for increased vigilance in the digital landscape.

This is especially crucial due to cybercriminals exploiting social media as an extended platform for their deceitful operations, following the successful enforcement of RA 11934, which mandates the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

Just recently, the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) issued a public alert concerning a fraudulent social media account misappropriating the name and image of its Acting General Manager, lawyer Glen Pangapalan.

The alert was disseminated through the agency’s official Facebook page, addressing reports about a Facebook Page named “GM Glen,” which illicitly used Pangapalan’s identity and photo.

“While the motives behind this impersonation remain uncertain, PFDA unequivocally condemns any attempt to misrepresent the agency’s name and the identities of its officials,” declared PFDA in their initial post on August 10.

“As a response, the agency has communicated with all regional units and the public at large, cautioning them about the potential fraudulent and malicious activities associated with these unauthorized impersonators.”

The agency urges individuals to promptly report any encounters with suspicious activities linked to the deceptive account to the PFDA Public Information Division through the telephone number (02) 8925-6139 or the email address

“Let’s maintain vigilance and exercise caution to cultivate a safer and more secure work environment,” the statement concluded.

Initially established as a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Department of Agriculture, PFDA was established with the mission of advancing the fishing industry. (ai/mnm)