PNP nabs seven women in scam offering fake employment to job-seekers
MANILA, Philippines —The Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested seven cybercrime suspects allegedly involved in a scam offering fake employment online, a menace that appears to persist even after the government has taken measures to combat it.
The PNP, in a report on Wednesday, identified the suspects as Kimberly Santillan, 43; Rosalie Verceles, 53; Lailani Bregoli, 25; Mary Jane Cuevas, 24; Zenaida Navarro, 47; Mary Jane Reyes, 46; and Simone Louise Austria, 21.
The seven were arrested after the PNP received complaints that the suspects copied and created a Facebook page of an employment agency in an attempt to trick possible unsuspecting individuals.
According to the complainants, the scammers posted the disguised account across online groups offering job opportunities, a method of defrauding that is called phishing by anti-cybercrime experts.
The suspects asked the victims who inquired about job offers to report physically to their office for interviews.
At the venue, applicants were allegedly prohibited from talking or using their mobile phones. In addition, the applicants were told to fill out a form and pay P300 to process their papers and 1,300 for medical fees.
The PNP warned the public against this dubious operation of people with intentions to deceive.
“This kind of modus continues to prey on innocent individuals who are seeking better opportunities but find themselves trapped in this illegal money-making scheme,” said PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.
“We call on the public to take caution and check with the appropriate government agencies to verify the legitimacy of these so-called employers,” he added.
The arrested suspects will be facing criminal charges for computer-related identity theft, swindling or estafa, and violations of the Labor Code of the Philippines, all in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Several factors have been blamed for the huge increase in job scams in the Philippines, including the long lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow pace of job creation in the country.
In May, the jobless rate hit a three-month high, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, triggering a call from various sectors for the government and the private sector to take action to address unemployment and underemployment immediately.
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