IN case a stranger calls or sends you a text message that you are being watched by the police for your illegal drug activities, simply ignore since you’re probably dealing with an extortionist or a scammer.
This was the advice given by the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) to Filipinos amid the presence of a syndicate involved in the so-called ‘Tokhang Telecom Fraud’ or a scheme were members of the ring either text or call their target and inform them that their names could be erased on the government’s narco-list if they will pay them.
“There is a new kind of phone scam we call Tokhang Telcom Fraud which we are exposing to warn the public,” said PNP-ACG director, Chief Superintendent Marni C. Marcos as he called on the citizenry to immediately report any information regarding the matter to their hotline (02) 41401560 or thru the PNP-ACG Facebook page: “PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group” so they could go after these cyber-criminals.
Marcos said they have discovered the scammers use technology to modify what phone numbers will appear on their target’s caller ID. “They also mimic the phone numbers of the local police or other law enforcement agencies to tell their victims that ‘you have been implicated in illegal drugs,’ he said.
Marcos said the citizenry must realize that policemen conducting the PNP: Oplan Tokhang on orders of PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde are not using their mobile phones to call their targets.
The PNP ‘Tokhangers’ are always in full uniform and in the company of local barangay officials each time they knock on the doors of suspected drug personalities and appeal that mend their ways thru rehabilitation.
Marcos gave some tips to help identify and handle this fraud. First, he said the public must not answer calls from phone numbers not listed on their contacts unless the callers will first send an SMS regarding their identity. This is needed to discern the identity of the caller and his purpose, he explained.
Second, the official asked the citizenry not to give their personal or financial information to strangers since these could be used against them.
He also called on persons who have received such fake Oplan: Tokhang message to preserve them and the number used by the scammer and report this to the nearest PNP-ACG office in their location.
Marcos issued the advisory amid complaint from netizens regarding the new online scheme.
Netizens aver conspirators would use Text Blasts or an SMS text message sent from a single source to a large group of people simultaneously, informing them they are included on the PNP’s drug watch list and are subject to PNP Oplan: Tokhang operations.
Those who will reply to the malicious SMS are likely to fall into these criminals’ trap, Marcos said. Apparently, enterprising criminals have taken advantage of the Oplan: Tokhang launched by the PNP in July 2016 to victimize unsuspecting Filipinos.
The scheme has led to the voluntary surrender of more than a million confessed drug dealers and users over the past two years of the Duterte presidency. The program has been continued by Gen. Albayalde in order to give confessed drug personalities the chance to reform and become productive citizens again.