Police authorities have issued warning against a criminal group preying mostly on families of seafarers and overseas Filipino workers.
A group was believed to be operating in Iloilo and nearby areas, tricks relatives of OFWs that they are involved in accidents or other emergency situations abroad.
One suspected member of the group, Jerry Talaman, has been arrested in Tibiao, Antique after one of the victims reported the extortion. Talaman had just picked up P100,000 from a remittance center when he was nabbed by operatives after a tip off was made by a mother of a seafarer. The woman sent money from Pototan, Iloilo but sought police assistance after she became suspicious of Talaman.
The group usually call its victims while posing as staff of placement agencies, insurance companies or government agencies making up stories about medical emergencies or accidents and then ask for money on behalf of the sick or injured relatives abroad. It is unclear how the group identifies its targets and how it acquires their target’s contact details. Victims are then tricked as fraudsters reveal information that the victims affirm to make the call sound authentic.
The seafarer’s mother sent a total of P270,000 through wired money transfer service to Guimbal, Iloilo and Culasi and Tibiao towns in Antique but only P100,000 was recovered with the arrest of Talaman, according to Senior Insp. Ariel Corcino, Pototan police chief.
Talaman confessed to investigators he had sent P92,000 to the group’s alleged leader, Gilbert Tuliva in Tigbauan, Iloilo. The gang usually asks for P50,000 from each victim, he added.