A traffic jam formed along Ortigas Avenue over the weekend as victims of a scam involving face shields flocked to the area to meet with supposed buyers.
According to Mark Salazar’s Tuesday report on “24 Oras,” a significant number of people were victimized by scammers posing as bulk buyers of face shields after the government made them a requirement when stepping outside amid the pandemic.
San Juan police chief Police Colonel Jaime Santos said the victims were the cause of the gridlock.
“Ang dahilan daw kaya sila nando’n ay dahil meron silang ka-deal sa face shield. Ito nga po ‘yung scam ng face shield. It turned out na sila pala ay nakipag-deal ng milyon milyon na hindi natuloy,” he said.
The San Juan police believed that a single large syndicate was behind the scam, which started online.
Authorities said a scammer will pose as a buyer of millions of pesos’ worth of face shields. The victim, who will serve as the middleman, will then look for suppliers to meet the supposed buyer’s demand.
Unbeknownst to victims, however, the buyer and supplier are working in connivance.
The buyer will give a downpayment to the victim, who will then transfer the money to the supplier.
On the day of the delivery, the supplier will not show up.
“Pagkita nila sa isang lugar, hindi sumipot si supplier. Tawag nang tawag si middleman. Galit na galit na itong si buyer. Sabi ni buyer, ‘Nasa’n na? Sandali, ipakukulong kita,’ sabi niya kay middleman,” Santos said.
“Tumawag ngayon ‘tong si buyer ng pulis kunwari. Takot na takot si middleman. ‘O sige, para hindi kita ipakulong, bayaran mo na lang kahit kalahati.’ So kung 500,000 ‘yung dinown ko, bayaran mo ko ng P250,000,” he added.
The Department of Trade and Industry said it was aware of the scam.
Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo urged the public to only patronize online shops that were duly registered with government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“‘Yan ‘yung mga more or less legit kasi hindi sila magpaparehistro kung ayaw nila magpahanap, ‘di ba?” explained Castelo. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News