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CIDG-6 urges public to report social media ‘romance scams’ | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


SANTOS

BY GEROME DALIPE IV

ILOILO City – Scammers never sleep and often take advantage of special occasions like the love month.

With the advent of technology, authorities warned the public that scammers may employ emotional tactics to manipulate their unsuspecting victims – mostly minors – and exploit their feelings.

Operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Iloilo City Field Unit (CFU) recently arrested John Federick Escare, who created multiple fictitious Facebook accounts and used them to chat with several women – both young and mature.

Armed with an arrest warrant for violation of Section 5(h) of Republic Act 9262, or the Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004, the police nabbed Escare, who was about to meet up again with his supposed target, which turned out to be as a police decoy.

Escare, 28, lured his victims by befriending them and later invited them to meet up with him. Once the victim fell into his sweet-talking, Escare brought his victims to a motel and had sex with them.

He would record the act on his mobile phone and use it to blackmail the victims by threatening to upload their sex videos if they refused to meet up and have sex with him again.

Police Captain Elbert M. Santos, city chief of the CIDG Iloilo CFU, said the so-called romance scams will proliferate during this love month and both young and adult females are their favorite targets.

Like Escare’s modus, Santos said these scammers create fake Facebook accounts, establish a romantic relationship with the victim, and then meet up with them.

Other scammers will also present to be romantically interested in the victim and then would ask for money or gift cards as a way to express their love, or will ask for personal information.

Santos also warned the public of phishing emails posing as love-themed messages. When the unsuspecting victim clicks on links or downloads the attachments in these emails, they will lead to malware or the theft of personal information.

What should you do if you suspect someone uses Facebook or other social media platforms to lure victims or engage in illegal activities?

Santos encourages the public to report similar situations to appropriate authorities, or the social media platforms themselves.

He said it is important to provide the police with all the necessary information such as details of any suspicious messages, screenshots, and other essential information of the suspect.

Other relevant evidence such as screenshots of inappropriate conversations or posts will also help the police to easily trace and identify the suspect.

The police also urged the public to provide authorities with a relevant timeline of events and any other relevant details that can assist in the investigation.

Authorities also asked the public to encourage others to report if they know other potential victims or individuals who may have encountered similar situations to strengthen the case and expedite the investigative process./PN



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