38 Taiwanese arrested in Paranaque for credit card fraud

From Sandy Araneta of Philstar.com:

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 38 Taiwanese nationals were arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for credit card and online fraud after they swooped down simultaneously in two huge residential houses in Paranaque City early today.

The NBI said the 38 suspects are reportedly cohorts of the 24 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals earlier deported to the People’s Republic of China (PROC) who were also engaged in online fraud that victimized foreigners.

In an interview at the NBI headquarters in Manila, Head Agent Palmer Mallari, chief of the NBI’s Technical Investigation Division (TID), said some of the 38 Taiwanese were even naked and engaged in sexual acts in only one large room when agents barged inside their safehouse at Lot 1, Block 5, Galatia Street, Multinational Village, Paranaque City at around 4 a.m. yesterday.

A total of 25 Taiwanese were collared in the Multinational Village raid while NBI agents also arrested 13 other Taiwanese during the raid at No. 421 Orbit Street, Aeropark, Don Bosco, Better Living Subdivision in Paranaque.

Mallari said they are yet to establish the identities of the suspect because they wrote their names in Chinese characters.

“We are still waiting for representatives from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) to get their true names as their passports could also be faked,” said Mallari.

Mallari also said the 38 Taiwanese could also be charged with RA 8792, or the “Electronic Commerce Act.”

The 38 Taiwanese will also be charged with swindling, he said.

In explaining the modus operandi of the syndicate members, Mallari said they have the capability to hack on “merchants’ accounts” through the “merchants’ website”.

Once the suspects enter the website, they are able to hack into credit card account.

Mallari explained that the syndicate commits fraud via three ways.

First, he said the moment the syndicate acquired the credit card information, they could do a lot of things such as online purchase.

Second, they commit fraud via transfer of account from the credit card to Paypal, then to an account in the Philippines and withdraw the money in the country using the Automated Teller Machine.

And third,   the syndicate members pose as legitimate businessmen in the Philippines and sell non-existent products to victims who use credit cards. “If there is a customer abroad, he will pay 50 percent, but there will be no product. If there is shipment, it only contains rocks or sand or fake items. The names on the shipment are not the names of the real owners of the shipment,” said Mallari.

He further said that a customer abroad is asked by a syndicate member to pay 50 percent of the cost of the product after being informed that the delivery is in transit and sending the shipment control number.

According to Mallari, the raiding teams were armed with search warrants issued by Judge Jaime Guray of a Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Paranaque City.

He said the raids were conducted after they were tipped off by an informant on the modus operandi of the suspects.

While he refused to give the identity of the informant, Palmer said he was the same person who filed a theft case before a Paranaque court against the suspected “operator” and mastermind of the online fraud.

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