Probe on boarding house scammers preying on students in Baguio ordered

BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Benjamin Magalong once again reminded students and tourists to be careful in their boarding house transactions by making sure they are transacting with the real owners or their authorized agents before agreeing in the deal or giving any payment.

Magalong issued the reminders following reports on scammers victimizing students by offering them board and lodging packages and asking for reservations fees.

On Aug. 8, a concerned homeowner in the city alerted the city mayor's office that a photo of the facade of his residence was used by a poseur to dupe several students online into paying reservation fees for boarding and lodging.

The modus operandi was first reported in August as the city was preparing for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

"We have issued warnings and advisories but these scammers have continued to victimize students. We need a thorough investigation on this," said Magalong.

The Baguio City top official said he has requested the City Police Office to investigate the boarding house scam.

City police director Col. Glenn Lonogan said the BCPO anti-cybercrime division will handle the investigation.

For students, they were advised to negotiate with the owners of the establishments personally and onsite.

They can also verify the real owners of a boarding house by calling the Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) to confirm the names of registered owner/s and their contact numbers.

For tourists, the City Tourism Operations Office advised visitors to transact only with accommodation establishments (AEs) listed under to verify if the person they are transacting with is really affiliated with legitimate AEs.

According to the PLD, the city has 31 dormitories, 21 lodging houses, 1,773 boarding houses, 1,398 apartments and 543 transient houses listed in its registry of permitted establishments.