PNP warns public against COVID-19 cash aid scam
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) warned the public against a modus that extracts sensitive information from individuals in exchange for “unclaimed” COVID-19 cash aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
PNP Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Vicente Danao Jr. on Friday told the public not to easily entrust sensitive information about themselves, saying that the Data Privacy Act of 2012 “limits government agencies” from asking individuals for their personal and sensitive information.
“It’s also important not to just entrust sensitive information about yourself in case they will ask. You have to verify first with the agency concerned,” Danao said in a statement.
“It’s important to note that you should be critical as well about the identity of the unknown person. If you are able to get his or her name, then check the veracity with the concerned agency,” he added.
Danao also cited a recent incident in Cagayan De Oro City wherein a certain Jhon Carl Mendoza, 30, was arrested after illegally posing as a DSWD officer offering assistance in exchange for cash.
“Based on the victim’s testimony, there was this deliberate act to deceive with the promise of receiving benefits from a government agency. We hope that the public will learn from this case. We don’t just give our trust to anyone, especially to strangers,” the PNP-OIC said.
The DSWD also reported a similar case in which a victim received an anonymous phone call, police said.
Further, the caller was asking for the victim’s “vital information, including her bank account,” and an “unclaimed” COVID-19 cash aid would be given in return, the PNP added.
If the person is in doubt of the agency asking for their information, they shall report it immediately to the nearest police station, the PNP noted. — Iliana Padigos, INQUIRER.net intern
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