February 27, 2017, 3:14 pm
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Facebook-based crimes

IN case my readers missed this Singapore story on Yahoo, please know that the scheme, this Facebook-sourced crime, is already here in the Philippines. Weeks ago, I received an email (my e-address is published with my columns) offering that without leaving my home, I can earn via internet up to $500 monthly from commissions. 

I am unable to reprint here copy and a return e-address of that offer of $500 monthly commission. I intuitively, instantaneously delete such frequent irritating messages; like some stranger in Africa died and left for me, in this stranger’s will, US$ (sometimes in English pounds) 100,000. All I had to do to get this amount was to email them my bank name.

To earn the commissions, I am to order things from a given membership store (similar to H&R or Costco) paid for by a legitimate member’s credit cards which they will send me. Individuals such as myself, buying non-commercial quantities, are exempted from Philippine tax. When the goods get to me, it will be picked up by a legitimate local store owner, and I keep 8% of the value of the purchases. 

For a moment, I thought this crime wasn’t too devious because it did not even ask for my bank account number, email password and other personal information. Seeing that the commissions would be savings by not paying commercial import tax to the government, a trusting person might take the offer as legitimate.

One unemployed new university graduate, Lim Weng Yeau, 25, got hooked into this scheme in Singapore. According to court documents, Lim came across a post by a person by the name of ‘Sure’ on Facebook in July 2016 about a low-risk and highly profitable job. 

Lim contacted ‘Sure’ via instant messaging service WeChat, and was informed that his role was to buy goods in foreign countries using credit cards supplied to him. In return, he would receive commission equivalent to eight per cent of the value of his purchases.

After receiving the credit cards in Kuala Lumpur on 4 September, Lim went to ION Orchard the next day. He tried to buy a bag from the Bottega Veneta store in the mall using two credit cards but the transaction did not go through. He went to Changi Airport later that day and successfully bought air tickets from Malindoair worth $850 with one of the credit cards.

When he was arrested by the police, all three credit cards were found in his possession; all found to be fake. Lim pleaded guilty to seven charges of possessing fake credit cards and cheating in the State Courts. A total of 14 other offenses were also taken into consideration.

Before meting out the sentence, District Judge Low Wee Ping called Lim “naïve.” He added that Lim would have been facing a sentence of 5 years or more if not for the representation by Lim’s lawyer, Ranadhir Gupta. 

You’ve been warned. Another Facebook-caused tragedy for a 25-year old university graduate whose life is ruined now as a convicted felon the rest of his life. 

***

Dahliaspillera@yahoo.com
 
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