June 15, 2024

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recently reported that nine Filipino workers have been rescued after becoming victims of an online love scam, with the criminals targeting a homosexual audience.

The first victim, a 42-year-old male, landed back at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 from Laos on May 16. His recruitment took place on Facebook, where he was offered a job as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) in Laos with a promised monthly salary of P50,000. However, he received no wages whatsoever.

Records show that the victim departed posing as a manager of a shop in the Philippines embarking on a holiday trip.

Two days later, BI brought home an additional eight Filipino nationals from Thailand. They had sought safety there after fleeing their job in Myanmar.

These people were recruited through a messaging application called Telegram where they were offered the same job as CSRs, but this time the offer was boosted to a salary of P55,000. Regardless, they were pressured into relocating to Myanmar to work as online love scammers, specifically targeting homosexuals.

The fraudulent scheme involved convincing their targets to invest in false cryptocurrency accounts through various dating websites.

The victims revealed they never received their wages and were soon terminated when they failed to meet their quotas. If targets weren’t reached, the victims were punished by cleaning toilets or made to jog in the scorching midday sun.

After their employers noticed the growing discontent among the Filipino employees, they were allowed to leave their work compound. The escapees then took a boat to Thailand, where they reached out to the Philippine consulate for aid.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco has recommended that Filipinos looking for overseas employment verify job offers from an official government agency. This is to avoid falling prey to such deceitful acts.

“Steer clear from unlawful job offers. Refrain from risking your life by consenting to such a syndicate,” warns Tansingco.

These instances add to the increasing count of similar incidents. Over 900 Filipinos have fallen into the trap laid by human-trafficking syndicates in recent years. Investigations regarding some of these cases are undergoing in a Senate committee.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

What online platforms are used for these fraudulent recruitment processes?

Both Facebook and Telegram, popular social media and instant messaging platforms respectively, are being used by criminal syndicates to recruit unsuspecting victims.

What should I do when presented with a job offer overseas?

BI recommends verification of all job offers through an official government agency. It’s important to verify and ensure that the opportunity is legal and offers appropriate working conditions.

What sort of work were victims forced into?

The victims were forced into a scheme which involved luring targets on dating websites into investing in fake cryptocurrency accounts. They were specifically directed to target a homosexual audience online.