A number of telephone subscribers have complained about receiving a robocall or a phone call that uses computerized autodialer to deliver the pre-recorded message: “Paalala. Ito ang departamento ng pulisya ng lungsod. Para sa iyong kaalaman nasangkot ka sa isang nakabinbing kaso ng iligal na droga. Pindutin ang number 1 upang marinig muli ang mensahe at number 9 upang ilipat ang tawag sa opisyal ng pulisya. Salamat.”
The robocall claims to come from the Philippine National Police (PNP). A prerecorded female voice would urge the recipient to press the number 9 to talk to a police officer about their alleged involvement in a drug case.
The person posing as an officer on the other line will allegedly order the victim to pay a certain amount of money or ask for personal information such as bank details in order to clear their name from the list of “narcos”.
The same robocall was received by the head sector relations of Globe Telecommunications.
“Ako mismo nakatanggap ako. Two days ago on the way to a meeting with NDRRMC. Nakatanggap ako ng call mismo. It was the recording. Yung female voice telling me to press 1 or press 9” said Globe Telecom Inc. Sector Relations head Robert Bobby Aquino.
But the PNP clarified that its Oplan Tokhang does not use robocall, but rather, police officers who personally visit the residence of the person suspected of being involved in illegal drug use or trading.
The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group said this is a type of telephone fraudulent scheme that evolved from the text method used by scammers to extort money.
Due to mounting complaints, the PNP-ACG reached out to the management of giant telecommunications company in the country to discuss and agree on ways to counter the fraudulent scheme.
“We can alert our internal fraud teams and we will discuss and see how can this be mitigated or prevented,” said PLDT Inc. 15 Inter-carrier Transactions and Proceedings Division Head Senior Associate Atty. Juan Antonio Lopez.
“Ang recommendation ko is to come up with an advisory right away to our customers about this new scheme siya, pero old fraud method ito para ma-educate ang customers about this,” said Aquino.
The PNP ACG also calls on the public to remain vigilant and to immediately report to authorities when they encounter such or similar fraudulent schemes.
“Sa mga nabibiktima kung puwede po ay mag report sila sa PNP-Anti Cybercrime Group. Doon naman po sa nakarecieve pa lang ng tawag, kung maari po ‘wag nyo na lang sagutin kasi kung importantenaman po ay magtetext naman po yun. Hindi rin naman po puwedeng tawag lang at text ang Tokhang natin. Pupunta po ang kapulisan sa mga bahay kung totokhangin po tayo,” said Investigation Section – ACOD chief PCInsp Joseph Arvin Villaran. — Lea Ylagan