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- Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco warns that crypto scammers are using Facebook, Telegram, and TikTok to target Filipinos who want to work overseas, with a particular focus on professionals who are offered high-paying jobs abroad before being forced into crypto scamming.
- Tansingco’s warning comes after eight repatriated OFWs from Cambodia were interviewed and revealed that they were recruited through the aforementioned social media platforms, arriving back in the Philippines after being promised salaries of up to $1,000 per month and working up to 18 hours per day without a day off.
- The new modus operandi is similar to the ongoing Senate investigation into a Chinese mafia that is turning OFWs into crypto scammers in Southeast Asia, with 12 OFWs rescued in Thailand in November 2022, and 6 more intercepted and rescued at the Clark International Airport in January 2023.
Amid the ongoing Senate investigation into a Chinese mafia that is turning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) into crypto scammers in Southeast Asia, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco revealed that a new modus of crypto scammers is prevalent on the social media platforms available in the country, including Facebook, Telegram, and TikTok.
According to Tansingco, the new modus, which targets Filipinos who want to work overseas, was exposed after interviewing eight repatriated OFWs from Cambodia who were recruited through the three social media platforms mentioned.
The Commissioner also shared that the repatriated OFWs, whose ages range from the early 20s to late 30s, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on a Philippine Airlines flight from Phnom Penh, where two departed as tourists at the NAIA and three at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga. The three other OFWs did not pass through the port as they traveled for seven days before reaching their destination.
As per Tansingco, the immigration officer from the CIA who cleared the three victims is the same person who cleared the victims of the Chinese mafia that is being investigated in the Senate.
“From Zamboanga, they traveled to Brunei, Jakarta, and Thailand before reaching Cambodia. The victims were promised salaries of as much as $1,000 per month. They were forced to work for up to 18 hours per day without a day off,” he explained.
Tansingco even claimed that the new modus is more targeted at Filipino professionals, who are offered high-paying jobs abroad. However, once these professionals have landed at the scammer’s location, they will be forced to work as crypto scammers.
“This is a hard battle. Human trafficking is a multifaceted issue and must be addressed from its roots. Those illegally recruiting and victimizing our Kababayans must be arrested and jailed,” the Commissioner concluded.
The new modus was said to be similar to the ongoing Senate investigation into a Chinese mafia that is turning OFWs into crypto scammers in Southeast Asia, which was first revealed by Senator Risa Hontiveros. But the gang behind this new modus is yet to be identified.
Timeline of Chinese Mafia Recruiting OFWs to be Crypto Scammers Abroad:
- November 21, 2022: Sen. Risa Hontiveros first revealed in a privileged speech that a large-scale human trafficking syndicate in the country recruits OFWs as call center agents, but later on turns them into crypto scammers. 12 OFWs were rescued by a network of local NGO communities and met by Philippine officials after crossing the border into Thailand. (Sen. Hontiveros Reveals Plot to Recruit OFWs to be Crypto Scammers Abroad)
- November 29, 2022: Hontiveros further disclosed that there are more or less 31 Filipinos who may also be victims and need rescuing in Myanmar. (31 More Filipinos May Be Trafficking Victims in Myanmar)
- January 20, 2023: The lady senator unveiled that an alias “Miles,” one of the Filipinos trafficked to Cambodia who was able to return to the country, has reached out to her office to seek assistance, as there are other Filipinos who need rescue in Cambodia. According to Hontiveros, the new hub for human trafficking operations could be in Cambodia. (Chinese Mafia Forcing Pinoys to Do Crypto Scam Still Active)
- January 26, 2023: The Bureau of Immigration confirmed that it has recently intercepted and rescued six suspected victims of a cryptocurrency trafficking ring at the Clark International Airport. (Immigration Confirms Rescuing 6 Alleged Victims of Chinese Mafia Forcing OFWs to be Crypto Scammers)
- January 27, 2023: Three victims share their experiences in the hands of the syndicate. They named the main recruiter as Rachel Almendra Luna, who has agents in the Philippines who book and take care of the recruits’ tickets and requirements. The Bureau of Immigration also identified the involved immigration officer as Alma Grace David. (3 OFWs Turned Into Crypto Scammers by Chinese Mafia Share Experience in Senate Hearing)
This article is published on BitPinas: Crypto Scammers are Using Facebook, Telegram, TikTok to Lure Victims, BI Confirms
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.