NBI agents arrest Taiwanese ‘hackers’ in raids
In separate raids conducted in Parañaque City, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rounded up 38 Taiwanese nationals believed to be involved in online fraud.
At around 4 a.m. Wednesday, agents of the NBI Technical Investigation Division (TID) raided two houses in Better Village Subdivision and Multinational Village in simultaneous operations based on a tip provided by a concerned citizen.
After receiving the tip, the NBI applied for a warrant with the Parañaque Regional Trial Court for the arrest of the group’s operator although he was not found in any of the houses that were raided.
Seized during the raids were several laptop computers and other devices such as routers as well as records containing credit card information, NBI-TID head agent Palmer Mallari said in an interview.
Mallari explained that according to the tipster and based on previous raids conducted by the NBI Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division, the group’s modus operandi consisted of hacking into merchant websites and stealing the credit card information of customers to use for online purchases.
The group also posed as legitimate merchandise sellers online and shipped either empty or misidentified packages to buyers, usually companies abroad. Buyers normally agree to pay 50 percent of the purchase price as downpayment before the item is shipped to them.
Mallari said the group also used the stolen credit card information to make payments to PayPal accounts they created with the money to be withdrawn later through local banks.
“They steal from a lot of accounts but in small amounts so the credit card owners probably don’t even notice,” Mallari said in Filipino.
He admitted that they had yet to hear of a complaint being filed against the group.
Not all of those rounded up in the raids were confirmed to be members of the syndicate, Mallari said, with some claiming to be the live-in partners of some of the Taiwanese or their househelp.
Mallari added that they had yet to identify the 38 whom they took into custody because their names were written in Taiwanese and most of them did not know how to speak English.
For now, those rounded up face complaints of violation of Republic Act No. 8484, or the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998, for the unauthorized possession of access devices including credit card information and equipment used to obtain money.
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