SEVEN persons accused of copying and creating a fake company Facebook (FB) page and using it to extort money from unsuspecting job applicants were arrested by agents of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) in an entrapment operation in Pasay City on Tuesday afternoon, PNP-ACG Director Brigadier General Joel B. Doria said.
The captured suspects were all female and will be facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 specifically Computer-Related Identity Theft and swindling/estafa under Section 315 of the Revised Penal Code, Doria said.
In a report to PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr., the official said that undercover officers from the Southern District Anti-Cybercrime Team (SDACT) arrested the suspects in an entrapment operation inside the Giselle Building located along EDSA corner Taft Street in Pasay City past 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.
He said that the SDACT led by Maj. Franklin Lacana investigated the suspects after discovering that they have copied the Facebook page of an employment agency and used it to defraud unsuspecting victims.
“After they have created the fake Facebook page, these scammers subsequently posted the mimicked account across all other Group Chats offering job opportunities to the public,” Doria said.
The official said that when interviewed by the team of Maj. Lacana, many of the victims narrated that when they inquired about the jobs being offered by the suspects, they were asked to report in person to their office on Taft Avenue for a job interview.
However, the complainants said that they were prohibited to talk with each other or even use their mobile phones when they showed up at the suspects’ office.
The victims also said that they were later asked by the suspects to fill up an application form and pay P300 in supposed “processing fees” and another P1,300 purportedly for their “medical fees”.
“The modus of these scammers is to make the unsuspecting victims believe that there is indeed a job opportunity waiting for successful applicants thru the creation of a fake Facebook Page imitating the accounts of a legitimate hiring agency,” Doria said.
The discovery of the suspects’ modus operandi prompted the PNP-ACG to remind the public anew to be very careful in responding to online job offers where the supposed employers are first demanding “processing and medical fees” and other payments from the applicants.
“We continuously remind everyone to be vigilant and cynical with regards to advertisements you see posted online or thru other social media where anyone can pretend to be somebody or some agency they are truly not,” Doria said.