PNP’s anti-cybercrime group probing online passport scams

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has tapped its Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to investigate social media pages allegedly offering fast passport appointments for a fee.

This, after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) requested the assistance of the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to get to the bottom of the scam.

“The ACG has been ordered to investigate this report and get to the bottom of this case. They are also ordered to arrest and charge the persons behind this scheme victimizing our countrymen, mostly our overseas Filipino workers,” PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a statement on Saturday.

DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay earlier asked the PNP and the NBI to unmask those behind Facebook pages and groups that offer a swift passport appointment process to applicants.

The DFA earlier also asked Facebook to identify and take down these accounts to prevent the public from getting swindled into paying for a service that is completely free of charge.

Appointment slots for all consular services are free, the DFA said.

Eleazar also appealed to the public not to patronize the offers on social media and immediately report to authorities their illegal activities.

“Let us work together to stop this kind of exploitation of our countrymen,” Eleazar said in Filipino.

He said those who have been victimized by this scam can file their complaints through the various platforms of the PNP’s E-Sumbong.

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