Twice in a span of only three months, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) had been targeted by scammers via different schemes. Fortunately for PAL and its hapless patrons, the modus operandi were all nipped in the bud.
PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo ‘Diva’ Villaluna has warned the public against buying ‘cheap’ airline tickets being sold by scam artists on social media sites such as Facebook. She also advised the travelling public that when buying PAL tickets, they have to make sure that they transact directly with PAL ticket offices and accredited travel agents ‘only’.
The scheme, she said, involves bulk-buying of tickets that are then sold at low rates via social media sites.
Individuals who are enticed to purchase these tickets are eventually informed that the tickets are in the name of fictitious people. The buyers are then offered fake IDs for presentation at airport check-in.
Citing a report from PAL express head of security Rear Admiral Jorge Amba, Villaluna said the number of passengers caught using fake IDs increased over the past months and that as of October 5, 2018, a total of 68 apprehensions were made in different airports around the country, with a particular concentration in Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Bacolod and Clark.
Since the tickets were bought online in bulk under different fake names, passengers who bought cheap round-trip tickets were also supplied with fake IDs by the sellers.
Unknown to the scammers, PAL’s airport frontliners are trained to distinguish counterfeit IDs so that if you presented a fake ID, you will surely miss your flight and will have to face tons of problems such as serious legal trouble and other hassles.
For the public’s information, apprehended passengers using fake IDs can be charged with violation of the Revised Penal Code, particularly Article 178 or ‘Using Fictitious Name and Concealing True Name’ which carries a penalty of one month jailterm and Article 172 or ‘Falsification of Public Documents,’ where the corresponding penalty is two to six years of imprisonment.
The law has been in existence for decades, but Villaluna said advancement in technology and social media has enabled these fraud schemes to flourish.
Just last July, PAL also fell victim to fake news with Villaluna warning the public against falling prey to a fake social media ad which purportedly offers free plane tickets. PAL authorities said it had come to their attention that a fake advertisement was currently circulating on social media, luring netizens to answer a survey in exchange for ‘2 free PAL tickets’.
Supposedly, the offer was in line with ‘PAL’s 83rd Anniversary.’ Actually, PAL is now just on its 77th year of existence.
‘The public must not fall prey to bogus ads such as these. False advertising will not be tolerated,’ an upset Villaluna said.
Netizens were immediately advised not to respond to the material as such action may compromise users’ profiles.
For the information of the public, Villaluna said that official advertisements are released only through the PAL website www.philippineairlines.com and through PAL’s official FB account @fypal. So there!!
The matter had been reported to the proper authorities for appropriate action and to date, we have yet to hear of any development. It’s good to hear that PAL has taken action to protect its customers.
Patrons, on the other hand, must bear in mind that if an offer seems to be too good to be true, chances are, it’s a scam.
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