The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has urged the public to be extra cautious in dealing with financial transactions online.
The warning was issued following the arrest of Tomas Necasio Nazareno who defrauded eight Filipinos and one American in the United States of more than US$200,000.
One of the victims, Alejander Bugarin, said he shelled out US$54,000 to Nazareno in tranches since 2016.
However, he personally met Nazareno only during the entrapment operation Thursday.
Nazareno claimed US$30-billion deposited at the HSBC in Thailand has been transferred to his name but he has no money to facilitate its withdrawal.
Bugarin said he encountered Nazareno through a common friend, a certain Pastor Gavino M. Ronquillo. He said Ronquillo referred Nazareno to him via Facebook messenger.
“Kaibigan ko nagrekomenda sa akin, he was my friend,” Bugarin said referring to Ronquillo.
He said he was convinced to shell out money because of the bank documents presented to him by Nazareno. He, however, admitted that the presentation of documents was made only through social media Facebook and Viber.
Bugarin said he initially deposited $2,000 for Nazareno followed by $9,000, $4,000 until it reached $54,000 because “the subject (Nazareno) continued to ask money and enticed that Subject’s offer of investment is valid and legitimate.”
When asked if he would press charges against his friend Ronquillo, Bugarin answered no.
Bugarin has been staying in the US for 10 years.
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