Your children may be gambling online 

After online bingo, I now get “invited” to online casino. 

I received this message in my prepaid @Smart phone: “online casino with 24/7 profesional(sic) custmer(sic) and 24/7 Immediate Cash In/Out. LUCKY LINK 09122923303.online/5EVZK7D” 

I stress prepaid because most young people, including children, have prepaid phones. Their numbers are not registered and their personal information is not provided. So, whoever is sending out these messages inviting people to gamble online really has no idea if his/her message is sent to minors. 

I did not bother to visit the link so I do not know if they ask would-be players details like age before they are allowed to play. But even if they do, how do they know the potential customer is being truthful? He/she may claim to be an adult, providing appropriate information that is actually not true (may be stolen from a parent) to be able to play. 

It is bad enough that children are being targeted by online predators but this blanket invitation to everyone and anyone to gamble may get children started on a vice that can only lead to financial ruin – of their parents, if they are minors; of themselves, if they are of age. 

Telecommunication companies are reportedly helping authorities protect children from being victimized by online predators. They should include these invitations to gamble.  

Parents should occasionally check the messages their children get to keep them out of harm’s way. Some parents may balk at this idea, not wanting to intrude on their children’s privacy. But they can probably come up with an arrangement that will enable them to read suspicious messages. Perhaps they can ask their children to show them communication from strangers. 

These invitations to play online bingo and casino come from numbers that I do not know. I block one number and I get the same message from another number. You do not want your children to get started on a pernicious habit. 

SSS advisory 

It is not just bank clients who are being targeted by scam artists, which prompted the @Social Security System to warn its members to be mindful of attempts to defraud them. In the United States, identity thieves often steal social security numbers to create new personas. 

Here are some tips from SSS: 

* Do not respond to unsolicited request for personal information, password, or social security information. 

* SSS will never ask for your personal information or social security information through e-mail, short messaging service or text, or phone call. Your SS number, user ID, password and automated teller machine (ATM) personal identification number (PIN) are personal and confidential.  

* Keep your personal SSS records and UMID (Unified Multi-purpose ID) card safe and secure. 

* Never entertain anyone offering assistance on online transactions. Moreover, application for UMID card requires personal appearance for data capturing at SSS branches.  

* Fixing or involvement with fixers is a crime and punishable by fine or imprisonment. 

* Do not join online groups unauthorised by the SSS as they could be data mining accounts that will steal your membership information to clone your profile. 

* Do not click on suspicious links. 

For accurate information, log on only to official SSS accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Report any suspicious activities to: Special Investigation Department, 4th floor, SSS main building, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City; 89247370, 89206401 local 5313 to 5316: email fid@sss.gov.ph 

I want to add that now that SSS is online, check your membership status every now and then. Some members, who never had any transactions with SSS, found out when they were applying for retirement benefits that some people took out loans in their names. 

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