OFW loses P600,000 in #Facebook #romance #scam

For an overseas Filipino worker, what started as infatuation on Facebook ended with extortion.

MANILA, Philippines – One overseas Filipino worker learned the hard way that love can result in so much loss when it does not work out.

Over P600,000 was taken from seaman Frederick Egea, 23, when he fell in love with someone through Facebook and later learned the relationship he was in was a scam.

From June 2017 to September 2018, Egea was sending money to his fake paramour hoping to meet her once he came home. When he finally docked in the Philippines, however, he only faced extortion.

On Monday, October 1, police from the Anti-Cybercrime group told reporters of Egea’s love story turned costly tragedy.

Boy meets girl online: In June 2017, Egea, met a certain Joana Mae Cruz on Facebook, and started developing feelings for her.

He fell in love with Cruz so much that he gave in to her demands, even when it involved sending money.
The cash, Cruz told Egea through chat, was needed for her tuition fees, gifts, and personal needs.

This relationship went on until on September 5, 2018, Egea came home from abroad and wanted to finally see Cruz in person. Cruz kept on making excuses to avoid meeting Egea, with the most recent being that she was in Tacloban.

The heartbreak came on September 8, when Egea found out that Joana Mae Cruz was a sham – a fake Facebook profile. The scammer behind it, 21-year-old Angelica Miguel, confessed to Egea of her misdeed.

The other woman: The photos to build the fake account were not pulled out of thin air. Miguel used the photos of a certain 20-year-old – Angelica Calanog – without her permission.

For Calanog, meanwhile, scammer Angelica Miguel posed as the leader of her supposed fans on Facebook. Miguel sent gifts, flowers, and clothes to Calanog, and has even gone to her house in Quezon City for the offerings.

When asked by Angelica Calanog’s mother where the gifts came from, Miguel said she has a “cousin abroad working as a seaman attracted to her daughter.”

All this happened while Calanog was clueless that a Facebook profile constructed with her photos was used to extort money from an OFW.

The date: Once she admitted to scamming Egea, Miguel demanded P26,000 from him or “something bad will happen” to Calanog – the real girl he fell in love with.

Police said Egea happened to care for Calanog without meeting her so he obliged to the demand.

Egea agreed to meet up with Miguel at the McDonald’s of Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth for the exchange. There at 10 am of September 11, undercover cops accompanied Egea, and as soon as he handed marked money to Miguel, cops broke cover and arrested her.

A second group of 6 other suspects, alleged cohorts of Miguel, were also expecting to receive extortion money from Miguel inside the Jollibee branch along Commonwealth Avenue. They were arrested by cops too after Egea handed marked money.

Miguel and her alleged company now face complaints for their alleged violation of Article 293 (Robbery), 315 (Swindling/Estafa), 318 (Other deceits) of the Revised Penal Code, and Republic Act 10175 for identity theft. – Rappler.com

Source: https://www.rappler.com/nation/213235-ofw-loses-money-facebook-romance-scam-september-2018