Anti-cybercrime operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a total of 83 people in a raid on the office of an alleged illegal online lending agency in Sampaloc, Manila.
Police Brig. Gen. Joel Doria, director of the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), said those arrested were the ones who were sending threats to their clients who would fail to pay the debt on time.
"They were caught in the act of sending threatening messages to customers while some where unlawfully accessing the clients’ personal information which is posted online with libelous remarks," said Doria.
The operation stemmed from the numerous complaint of threats and humiliating remarks purportedly coming from employees of the online lending agency using the social media.
Doria said they immediately launched the operation after securing a Warrant to Search, Seize, and Examine Computer Data (WSSECD) from a court to search and seize pieces of digital evidence that were allegedly used by the loan shark company in its lending scheme with usurious rates. The raid was conducted in Barangay 497 in Sampaloc district.
The modus of the lending agency is to encourage people to secure a quick loan. But once the client would avail and fail to pay on time, they would send threats and humiliating messages not only to the clients but also to their friends and followers on social media.
"They take advantage of our poor netizens who happened to click on their advertisements and promotions through social media and 'google play apps store' that offer instant loans," said Doria.
"Customers who fall trapped to this online lending agency, experienced public humiliation and harassment coupled with threats and illegal access to their phones’ contact list when customers cannot pay on time," he added.
Doria said he already directed his men to intensify the operation against online lending agencies using the same modus.
The PNP-ACG is now preparing criminal charges against those arrested.