Gov’t warns OFWs vs cryptocurrency scam syndicates    | Inquirer News

Gov’t warns OFWs vs cryptocurrency scam syndicates   

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:30 AM February 27, 2023

An illustration shows a scammer in hoodie working on a computer. Image by Dannie Agacer. STORY: Gov’t warns OFWs vs cryptocurrency scam syndicates      

An illustration shows a scammer in hoodie working on a computer. Image by Dannie Agacer

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration have warned the public anew against cryptocurrency scam syndicates who have been using popular social media platforms, like Tiktok, to lure aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The warning came as authorities repatriated to Manila on Saturday eight Filipinos who were deceived into working for an online scamming and catfishing syndicate in Cambodia’s Ouddar Meanchey and Kampot provinces.


According to the DFA, the eight Filipinos were rescued by the Cambodian National Police and investigated by the Anti-Cyber Crime Unit before they were turned over to the General Department of Immigration.


In coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh, the DFA provided welfare assistance and arranged for the expedited investigation and eventual release of the Filipinos.

‘Human trafficking’

“Human trafficking in Southeast Asia is a serious regional issue, and the DFA is exerting efforts to ensure the safety of Filipinos wherever they are. We will continue to engage with the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member-states and international partners to clamp down on this abhorrent activity,” said Foreign Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega in a statement.

Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the victims—six males and two females, whose ages ranging from early 20s to late 30s—arrived early Saturday morning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 on board a Philippine Airlines flight from Phnom Penh.

According to Tansingco, the victims recounted that they were recruited through advertisements on social media platforms Telegram, Facebook and Tiktok.

He added that the victims were all promised salaries of as much as $1,000 per month, and were forced to work for 16 to 18 hours a day without day off.

Backdoor exit

Three of the victims departed via Clark, said Tansingco, adding that the same immigration officer from Clark who was previously recalled and is being investigated for alleged facilitation was the same officer who cleared the three victims.


Three other victims left the country via Zamboanga, and did not pass through formal ports, the immigration chief said, adding that the victims traveled for seven days to reach their destination.

“After going from Cebu to Zamboanga, they traveled to Jolo, Brunei, Jakarta and Thailand before reaching Cambodia,” Tansingco said.

The two who left via Naia, on the other hand, presented themselves as tourists, he said. One presented herself as an officer in a local company, while the other traveled from Bangkok to Cambodia with his girlfriend. They claimed to be on vacation, but both ended up as workers in the scamming syndicate.

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Tansingco said the girlfriend was reportedly able to return early due to the demise of a family member, but the partner was threatened that he will be made to pay for his girlfriend’s breach of contract.


Money lost via online scams may never be recovered – DOJ

Group calls on gov’t to create ‘secure digital space’ amid rampant scams online

Facebook, Viber used by scammers to personalize messages – NBI

TAGS: Bureau of Immigration, cryptocurrency scam, Department of Foreign Affairs, overseas Filipino workers

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