Three Americans, three Britons, a Canadian and a man from Ghana have been arrested in Pasig City for alleged online fraud.
The eight men were nabbed by the police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group at their office, alongside 24 Filipina call centre employees, today (Thursday, November 29).
The US Homeland Security, the Internet Fraud Watchdog (IFW), and local officials were also present during the raid.
Seized from the suspects were several computer units, modem routers, ‘voice over internet protocol phones’, mobile phones and a number of documents including scripts for their call centre workers.
Online fraud targeted the elderly
According to the Australia-based IFW, the suspects would target potential victims — in particular the elderly and vulnerable — to convince them to invest in bogus companies.
Once the victims had send over their supposed “investments”, the group would cut all connections with them and vanish with the money.
The IFW also alleged that the online fraud group had been operating in the Philippines for two decades and had stolen “millions of dollars” from victims around the world.
Speaking to reporters after their arrest, one of the suspects said: “Somebody asked me to to do a job, and I said I will make sure the emails and everything are correct, and that’s it.”
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar said: “They claim to offer investments in security firms but it’s all bogus.”
The suspects have denied the allegations against them. Meanwhile, the group’s Filipina call centre agents say they were not aware that what they were doing was part of an illegal activity.
The suspects are now detained at the NCRPO. The police are liaising with the Bureau of Immigration to confirm what charges the eight men will face.
In June, we reported on the arrest of eight Israelis and 480 local workers who were running a similar scam in Clark Freeport. It was estimated that this cartel was earning $1 million per day.
Then, in August, two Canadians and an American were arrested in Muntinlupa City and charged for violation of Republic Act 8799, or the Security Regulation Code in relation to Republic Act, and RA10175, or the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012.