Public warned anew against online scammers

MANILA — The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Friday warned anew the public against the online scammers.

PNP-ACG director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said they have investigated 178 cases of online scam from January to May this year alone, making it the No. 1 Internet fraud in the Philippines.

The common online scams in the country include telemarketing fraud, identity theft, advance fee schemes, credit card fraud, business fraud, non-delivery of merchandise and investment-related scams like the so-called Ponzi scheme and pyramiding.

The senior citizens, housewives, young students and even professionals were the main targets of the online scammers.

Eleazar said the PNP-ACG cybercops arrested last Wednesday Dianne Austria, 26, architectural graduate-turned interior designer in her residence in Pandacan, Manila for not paying for the products she bought online.

The suspect will be charged for 14 counts of violation of Article 315 or swindling/estafa under the Revised Penal Code.

The arrest was made following a complaint from Mrs. Mary Hanezel Koh, a businesswoman selling designer clothes, cosmetics and other beauty accessories online.

Koh and the suspect have been doing business through social media networks since December last year but their latest transaction showed that Austria has posted deposit slips that were not credited to Koh’s bank account.

This prompted the police to set up an entrapment operation, resulting in the arrest of Austria.

The suspect is now being held at the PNP-ACG headquarters in Camp Crame pending the preliminary investigation of her case by the Department of Justice.

Eleazar advised the public to take all necessary precautions to prevent falling prey to online scammers.

“There is always fraud when you are giving and receiving the products without knowing or seeing the person,” he said. PNA/