A heinous crime amid the crisis
"How can these scammers stomach what they do to their fellow Filipinos?"
How can some people stomach exploiting the current public health crisis and taking advantage of fellow Filipinos?
The pandemic not only caused great suffering to those infected by the dreaded COVID-19. It compelled the government to impose lockdown and shut down the economy to avert its spread.
It is during these times when people are most vulnerable to scams, as they desperately wish to survive with their meager income and savings.
Unfortunately, there are those who see this as an opportunity for self-gain and would rather devise ways to divest people of what little they have put aside for the bad days.
One of the modus used by ill-willed people out there is the investment scam, particularly the one called "pyramiding," where the swindlers pose as executives or agents of legitimate business entities.
They lure people from all walks of life to “invest” in the company with the most dubious line of business and offer prospective investors with the “double” or “triple your money” scheme.
In the pyramiding scheme, syndicates use the income from new participants to pay out returns to earlier investors.
Although such schemes have been around for many years, they continue to flourish during the community quarantine restrictions as syndicates use the internet’s messaging platforms, such as Messenger, to target people.
This ploy is the one used recently on swindling a number of people including professionals such as teachers and government employees.
Some of those who gambled to invest actually received substantial payouts encouraging them, as well as friends and relatives, to invest a larger amount of money.
At least 100 public school teachers in Batangas Province wish to file complaints against several individuals behind an entity called Align Assets which promised them "150 percent return of investment after 50 working days."
The 50 working days have lapsed this month but no payouts have taken place.
They were told that Align Assets, which was supposedly based in the United Kingdom, has declared bankruptcy.
They later learned that Align Assets, allegedly headed by one calling himself “Kenneth Eusebio,” was actually a non-existent entity.
We are requesting the concerned law-enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate this case against Align Assets and the culprits headed by the man who goes around as Eusebio and who is believed to have strong connections.
It is truly sad that some con artists would exploit the emotions of fellow Filipinos who just wanted to make the most of their cash on hand, trusting it would grow in some investment activity.
During these times, it is natural to get attracted to financial gain and people can make irrational decisions. But if something seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
The public should protect their hard-earned cash and stay away from questionable investment schemes. Watch out for red flags and do some verification.
The PNP-CIDG and the NBI anti-cybercrime authorities should put a stop to these heinous criminal activities which are tantamount to economic sabotage.