Illegal recruitment via Internet uncovered

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE National Bureau of Investigation has uncovered a new modus of an illegal recruiter using Internet and electronic money transfer in the illegal operation with the arrest of a registered nurse who allegedly duped a number of nurses applying for jobs in London.

NBI Director Nestor Mantaring identified the arrested suspect as Wilfredo Almira Isaac, 35, of Shihanok Village, Coral Bells, Las Piñas City.

In a press conference yesterday, Mantaring said the modus operandi of Isaac was uncovered by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLaC) out of several transactions he made through an electronic cash service provided.

Atty. Vicente de Guzman III, head of the NBI-Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division (AFCCD), said the suspect enticed nurses using Internet through electronic mail to apply for work abroad or by “phishing.”

“Phishing,” according to authorities, is carried out by e-mail or instant messaging and often directs users to enter details at a fake website with a legitimate look and feel.

“Even when using server authentication, it may require tremendous skill to detect that the website is fake. It is an example of social engineering techniques used to fool users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies,” De Guzman explained.

The official added that the suspect usually informs prospective victims that they must attend a British Language seminar allegedly sponsored by seemingly legitimate organizations and asks for seminar fees ranging from P2,500 to P6,000 to be paid through automated teller machine (ATM) cards or electronic cash service providers.

It was also learned that the suspect used several fictitious names registering under different mobile phone numbers. Among the names Isaac used were: Paul Almanza Sauer and Cyrus Ramos Villanueva, which were discovered among the identification cards confiscated from him on his arrest.

Mantaring said an arrest warrant was issued against Isaac by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 30 for illegal recruitment and estafa in 2004 but it was only now that he was arrested by agents of the NBI-AFCCD on FB Harrison S. while attempting to claim money sent by one of his victims.

Charges of violation of Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, estafa, using a fictitious name and concealing true name, and falsification by a private individual are now being readied against the suspect before the Manila prosecutor’s office.