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PNP probes fake FB account

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified the persons behind "poser" Facebook accounts illegally assuming the identity of its chief for unscrupulous activities, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Meron na po tayong mga pangalan na nakikita at the same time, pinapatawag na natin sila (We already have names and at the same time, we have called for them) and if we were able to prove that they have been using these accounts for illegal activities most especially the use of my name, we will arrest them and file cases against them,” PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan told reporters during a press briefing held in Camp Crame.

Cascolan clarified that he has no Facebook account and also advised those involved in such activities to stop using his name and to return the money they extorted from their victims.

"First, I have a Facebook page but I do not have a Facebook account. Second, to those engaging in illegal activity and extorting money using my name or a fake Facebook account under my name, remember that you cannot hide easily because our people in the Anti-Cybercrime Group are good and are able to go after you. Stop your acts and return the money you swindled, if possible," he said in Filipino.

PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) director Brig. Gen. Marvin Manuel Pepino said the three flagged Facebook poser accounts have been identified under the account names: "Camilo Pancratius Pikoy Cascolan", "Camilo P Cascolan", "Camilo Cascolan", misrepresenting the page as owned by the PNP chief.

The ACG has initiated an investigation and case buildup on the activities of persons behind the identified bogus Facebook accounts and requested the social networking giant to take down these pages to prevent possible further illegal activities.

Facebook’s Law Enforcement Outreach manager Rob Abrams confirmed to the PNP-ACG that they already disabled all three poser accounts.

“These fake accounts have been active in social networks enticing Facebook users to donate funds purportedly to purchase computer tablets for students in urban poor communities for online classes,” Pepino said.

Pepino also said four persons of interest have been summoned to appear before the Regional Field Units of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) as part of ongoing investigations into fake Facebook accounts using the identity of PNP chief in online scam activities.

He added that the joint ACG-CIDG investigation seeks to further develop facts and new inputs to identify the personalities behind online scam operations using these bogus Facebook accounts.

Those behind these fake Facebook accounts may face criminal charges for violation of Sec. 4 (b) 3 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, for identity theft; and Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code for Swindling or Estafa (Online Scam), Pepino explained.

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