Nigerian, accomplice face raps for P400,000 ‘romance scam’
MANILA, Philippines – A suspected accomplice of a Nigerian involved in a “romance scam” was arrested in Tarlac City on Monday, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) of the Philippine National Police.
The statement, based on a report sent to the PNP officer in charge, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, did not identify the suspects nor the man who they allegedly swindled of P400,000.
“A romance scam,” the ACG statement said, “is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions using goodwill to commit fraud.”
This scam, as reported by the complainant, developed for almost five months, according to Lt. Gen. Jose Chiquito Malayo, PNP deputy chief for administration.
According to the ACG suspect, the accomplice got in touch with the victim through Facebook Messenger, introducing herself as “Janifer Natalia,” a US Army member assigned in Yemen.
As their online friendship, starting all the way back to April 19, developed, Natalia messaged the victim that she was sending the victim a package containing $1.2 million.
Another person, using an unregistered number, began texting the victim on June 8. That person went by the name “Lucy Diaz,” supposedly an employee of the Bureau of Customs.
Lucy Diaz began sending the victim texts demanding payment for customs duties and surcharges for the release of the parcel.
“The victim believed that he was communicating with a real person. So he was convinced to send the money amounting to [P400,000 through] money wire transfer, e-wallet and bank transactions,” Malayo explained.
After paying the P400,000, Diaz still demanded more money, which finally pushed the victim to report the crime to ACG.
The accomplice was arrested in an entrapment operation in Tarlac City, right after the victim handed over the money.
The arrested suspect said it was the Nigerian who was posing as Janifer Natalia.
According to the PNP statement, they will be charged for using fictitious names and swinding/estafa under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Malayo took the opportunity to repeat the PNP warning to the public to be careful in using social media and to report any complaints about online scams to the ACG office in Camp Crame or through Viber (0961-829-8083) or through landline number (02)723-0401 local 7491.
Text scam that knows phone user’s name raises alarm
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