LOVE is in the air this February, and so are scammers, said Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos on Tuesday as he urged the public to be vigilant against what he described as ‘love scams’.
Citing the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group’s Cyber Security Bulletin No. 133, Abalos said “love scam” is a type of scheme employed to trick individuals into giving the scammers money by gaining their adoration and trust.
Abalos explained the modus operandi of scammers is to target the vulnerability of their potential victims based on the information they have gathered on social media.
He underscored that vigilance is key to ensure that no one will fall prey to the love scammers.
“Yung love scam, tinitingnan nila (scammers) through your profile kung sino yung malungkot, nag-iisa. Ano yung music na hilig mo, ano yung hilig mong kinakain. Then yung weakness mo, doon ka pinapasok. Talagang sindikato,”he said.
He continued:“Love Scam, talagang nagna-number one ngayon ‘yan. So I guess, ang importante dito is everyone should be aware of these things.”
The DILG Secretary issued the warning during a press briefing together with PNP Chief P/BGen Benjamin Acorda, Jr., held by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) in Malacanang.
“We live in an advanced digital age. Napakadali na lang po para sa mga manloloko na kumuha ng pagkakakilanlan ng ibang tao, most usually those who are physically pleasing to attract their victims,”he stressed.
Abalos continued that once scammers have already gained the victim’s trust, they will ask either subtly or directly for money, gifts, or banking/credit card details as ‘proof of their love.’
Abalos likewise said some scammers will also try to ask for sensitive or nude photos, which they will then use to blackmail the person into giving them money in exchange for not leaking the materials online.
He then urged parents and guardians to be watchful of their children’s online activity:“They will target those who are vulnerable and susceptible to their methods. Let us protect our children from these predators.”