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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
- Five individuals, including three foreigners, were arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) for operating a cryptocurrency scam in Pasig City.
- The group’s scheme is pretty much a “double whammy” as they target victims that have already previously lost their crypto and entice them to work with them to supposedly recover the lost funds, only to steal from the victims again.
- The ACG reminded users not to engage with or seek help from anyone regarding these scams other than the authorities to prevent more incidents like these.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) arrested five individuals, including three foreigners, on May 17, 2023, in Pasig City for allegedly operating a cryptocurrency scam.
In a recent search operation conducted at a building in Barangay Kapitolyo, the Manila District Anti-Cybercrime Team apprehended two Filipinos Marie Mizukami and Krizzia Garcia; Israelis Shay Semo and Chen Keren; and American Aron Dermer.
According to the ACG spokesperson, Police Captain Michelle Sabino, the group’s scheme is pretty much a “double whammy” as they target victims, searched on social media sites, that have already previously lost their crypto and entice them to work with them to supposedly recover the lost funds, only to steal from the victims again.
“Sasabihin nila doon sa victim, ‘mag-download ka ng Team Viewer.’ Kung familiar kayo sa Team Viewer, its an app na makita yung laman ng computer remotely, so lahat ng laman ng computer, nakikita of course ng scammer,” Sabino explained.
[“They will tell the victim to download the Team Viewer, an app where everyone can access the files and data on the computer remotely. Thus, all the information on that computer can also be accessed by those scammers.”]
After downloading the said app, the fraudsters will then tell the victim to download another crypto wallet and deposit the same amount they lost previously. Since scammers can access the victim’s computer, they can also use the information they see to steal and transfer the funds to their own wallets.
During the operation, the ACG arrested the Filipinos as they were engaged in online fraud, as revealed by the evidence found on their system units, located on the second floor of the establishment. The evidence includes chat scripts and conversations related to their illicit activities.
Simultaneously, the police also arrested foreign nationals for their involvement in the alleged illegal scheme; they were charged with maintaining, supervising, and owning the establishment. The five of them will also face charges of computer-related fraud.
Derner will also face another charge of obstruction of justice, as he was caught hiding two flash drives containing their victims’ information in a soda can in an attempt to destroy the evidence.
The authorities seized a substantial amount of items from the raid, which included:
- 17 laptops with peripheral accessories
- A monitor
- A mobile phone
- A video recorder
- 14 pieces of system units
- Two laptops
- Three external hard drives
- 12 SIM cards
- Five flash drives
- Five mobile phones
- An internet hub
- Two ID cards under the names of Chen Keren and Semo Shay
- Assorted foreign and Philippine currency bills
- Five laptops
- A tablet
- 10 assorted phones
- Two USB flash drives
- Assorted documents
- A ledger
- Two pieces of system units
- Assorted ID and membership cards
The arrested individuals, along with the confiscated items, were transported to the ACG headquarters for booking and documentation to prepare for their inquest proceedings.
Other Crypto Scam News in PH
Recently, Senator Risa Hontiveros raised concerns during a Senate hearing, highlighting the existence of crypto scam hubs in the Philippines. She specifically pointed out the alarming practice of employing trafficked foreigners as crypto scammers within these hubs.
Prior to this, the senator also revealed a large-scale human trafficking operation targeting Filipinos seeking jobs abroad, who were then forced to work as scammers in Myanmar and Cambodia.
- Sen. Hontiveros Reveals Plot to Recruit OFWs to be Crypto Scammers Abroad
- Crypto Scammers are Using Facebook, Telegram, TikTok to Lure Victims, BI Confirms
Last year, an alleged cryptocurrency scam deceived around 1,000 victims through an unlicensed online investment platform that promised high returns on investments. However, victims have reported that they were unable to withdraw their funds and that the platform’s operators have disappeared.
In May 2022, another two individuals involved in a multi-million peso investment scam that utilized cryptocurrencies were apprehended by the police after defrauding numerous victims by promising substantial returns on investments. The scam involved soliciting investments in a cryptocurrency scheme that ultimately turned out to be fraudulent.
BitPinas articles on how to not become a victim of crypto scams:
- Beware of Job Offers in Social Media: Bureau of Immigration Issues Warning on Crypto Scam Trafficking
- STRONGER FINANCIAL REGULATIONS: SEC Issues Draft To Impose Stricter Penalty vs Scammers, Ponzi Schemes
- Don’t Fall For Crypto Scams: Five Signs of Crypto Ponzi Schemes
- Don’t Get Fooled by the Latest Binance Scam Using GCash
- PNP Tells Public: Be Cautious in Fake Crypto Investments
The ACG reminded users not to engage with or seek help from anyone regarding these scams other than the authorities to prevent more incidents like these.
This article is published on BitPinas: DOUBLE WHAMMY: Group That Scams People Who Lost Their Crypto Via Scam Nabbed by PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group
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.