Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Friday, July 06, 2007

Police probe ‘Francswiss’ Internet scam

By Alcuin Papa - Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine National Police has started investigating the “Francswiss” fraud scheme similar to pyramiding, a police official said Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Rodolfo “Boogie” Mendoza of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he designated a special cybercrime unit to start tracking down the perpetrators of the fraud.

“This is very similar to the pyramiding schemes. We are starting with website to track down suspects. Even if it is down, there will be footprints through IP addresses,” Mendoza said.

He said the investigation into the fraud will be “two-pronged.”

“We will conduct the cyber investigation and at the same time the physical investigation where we will be taking down statements of victims and assessing the information they will be giving us,” Mendoza said.

He also revealed that they will be coordinating closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is large-scale fraud perpetrated by a large syndicate and there are a lot of victims. There might be local companies in cahoots with the groups abroad. In a sense, we will also follow the paper trail,” he said.

Mendoza appealed to victims of the “Francswiss” scam to come out and lodge a complaint in his office.

He said the PNP has the capability to conduct computer forensic investigations.

Mendoza said its cyber unit was the same group that busted a telecommunications fraud syndicate in the country last March. The syndicate was involved in hacking into PABX systems in the United States and stealing telephone numbers. The numbers, which could be used for overseas calls, were then sold to international buyers.

Mendoza said the PNP is working to increase its capability to investigate large-scale Internet fraud perpetrated by “corporate criminals.”

Recently, Mendoza said they designed a “white collar” crime investigation course that the PNP hopes will address not only Internet fraud but large-scale fraud carried out by transnational crime groups.

“This project is close to being finished,” he said.

The new scam lures unsuspecting victims over the Internet using the websites http://www.francswiss.biz/ and http://deutchfrancs.com.

Another way is by recruitment of prospective victims by persons already “enrolled” in the scheme.

Prospective investors are asked to invest $1,000 in francswiss.biz and $10,000 in deutchfrancs.com.

The promise is that the investor will earn a 10-percent commission if he or she recruits two more people.

The promised returns supposedly can go as high as 270 percent in a matter of just 60 days.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is due to release an advisory warning the public about the scam.

The scam follows the so-called Ponzi scheme which promises higher returns than investors in other businesses.

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