WITH Christmas and New Year’s Day barely a few days from now, the Philippine National Police leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday asked the public anew to be on guard against the possible resurgence of different scams involving the use of ATM and credit cards.
Saying it’s better to be safe than sorry, the PNP asked the public to be wary of different modus operandi being used by syndicates, some of them foreign scam artists now staying in the country to steal the money of unsuspecting Filipinos.
Both the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) headed by Chief Superintendent Marni C. Marcos Jr. and the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar have conducted joint investigations and operations against cases of Central Europeans in particular who are involved in massive ATM scam in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Last week, police arrested a woman whose modus operandi is to offer help to elderly persons trying to withdraw money from their ATM accounts. Unknown to the victims who have entrusted their password to the suspect, she will put glue on the card slot and keypad of the ATM machine and wait for her elderly victims to leave. Once they have left the place, she will then withdraw their money.
Police have also arrested several Central Europeans withdrawing money from ATM machines in the country with the use of fake access devices. One of them was Bulgarian Padil IIadimiro Milenov who last year was arrested and charged in court for the same offense.
The official said that the investigation is part of their effort to uncover the existence of a foreign syndicate which has victimized local banks and their clients by stealing money from ATM machines with the use of skimming devices and fake ATM cards.
Milenov is not alone in this criminal enterprise because of the modus operandi used, officials said. “The focus of ACG’s investigation is the possible involvement of other people, which I believe are part of a syndicate of foreign nationals operating in the country,” Marcos said.
Another Central European arrested for the same offense was a 41-year old Bulgarian national named Orlin Grozdanov Stoev who landed in a Bulacan police jail after being arrested for involvement in ATM fraud.
Since 2015, PNP agents have made several high-profile arrests of foreign ATM scammers including that of a 32-year-old Bulgarian who was once jailed by Paraguayan authorities in 2011 for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the accounts of Bill Gates, the world’s richest man.