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During the holiday season, be cautious of clickbait and internet scams: ACG

The public was forewarned by the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) to exercise greater caution when clicking on “clickbait” or links used by internet scammers to entice victims, particularly during the Christmas season.

As the SIM Card Registration Law is about to go into effect before the end of the year, ACG spokesperson Lt. Michelle Sabino said scammers are also working overtime to cheat individuals out of their bonuses and incentives.

“Yes, (we have been getting a lot of complaints lately), and generally speaking, lahat ginagawa na ang swindling, estafa, panloloko ang mga kawatan lahat pwedeng gawin paraan para makapanloko. Online selling, online purchasing, and even investment fraud (Yes, we have been receiving a lot of complaints lately. The criminals are using every trick in the book to try to con people, including swindling and estafa. Online selling or purchasing, as well as investment fraud),” Sabino remarked.

She advised individuals to exercise more restraint when spending money, particularly when doing so online.

Sabino continued, “Dahil (Because it’s) Christmas, may bonus and ability to spend or buy, it is higher than usual that they assault during these times.

Users must register their SIM cards within 180 days of the law’s taking effect, with an extended registration period of no more than 120 days, as of December 27.

A SIM will be automatically deactivated if it is not registered within this time frame, although it can still be activated again after registration as long as it is done no later than five days following deactivation.

Since they can be clearly identified, as opposed to currently when they are hiding behind the anonymity of the web, their scamming globe will get smaller if they register, according to Sabino.

ACG agents in the meantime saved a 12-year-old girl from her stepmother who was abusing her.

The victim, named only as “Mika,” was requested by her stepmother to withdraw the money that her victim had deposited to a remittance center, according to a statement from the ACG.

The 62-year-old guy who made the complaint that he had met the suspect on social media sometime in November and that they had quickly started dating was the impetus for the operation.

The suspect, identified as Adja Luwande de Guzman a.k.a. “Charm” (Jane Del Rosario), who appeared to be a nurse, informed him that she must undergo surgery due to Covid-19 after winning his trust and confidence.

She then requested her virtual partner for immediate financial support.

The victim sent PHP267,600 total via digital wallet and online bank transactions because she thought it was true.

A different Facebook account with the name “Thelma Del Rosario” contacted the victim while posing as the victim’s sweetheart’s sister.

She informed him that “Jane” had passed away during the procedure and asked for an additional PHP32,000 in funding from him to cover costs associated with cremation and burial aid.

When the complainant recognized he was a victim of a “love scam,” he contacted ACG, who set up an entrapment.

“Mika” acknowledged throughout the operation that the suspect had only asked her to make the money claim on her behalf.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development was then given control of the minor so that appropriate action could be taken.

The biological mother of “Mika” appeared before the ACG and declared her willingness to report her ex-husband and his live-in partner for child abuse.

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