MANILA, Philippines - Two foreigners were arrested Friday in connection with an alleged 'budol-budol' type of scam, which used the internet to bait victims.
Back in September, businesswoman Jenny Mabutas received an email from a certain Anderson Cooper, who said he has just arrived in Manila and was carrying $10 million. As proof, Cooper even sent pictures of a suitcase filled with money.
Because she was also waiting for a package from her boyfriend from Africa, Mabutas immediately fell for the scheme.
However, the email said the Bureau of Customs had possession of the suitcase, and Mabutas needed to pay $500 for it to be released.
Mabutas said she fell for the trap, and met with the two African men. She then gave the two men P20,000 and $3,600. However, they demanded more money, this time, $10,000.
At this point, Mabutas suspected something was amiss, and when she learned there was no package addressed to her at the Cebu Pacific Cargo Terminal, she sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
In the entrapment operation Friday, Mabutas agreed to meet the two at the airport, but then she was directed to meet them at the Manila Airport Hotel.
Cooper, whose real name is McDonald Tony Bombaka, and his companion Samuel Taylor were arrested by the NBI at the hotel's lobby.
The bureau's operatives also combed through the room of the men, but they did not recover anything.
After the incident, the NBI is now warning the public against internet scams.
"Nagbabago na sila ng modus, just like the black money scam," said Head Agent Ross Bautista, NBI Intelligence Services.
"Ipagbigay-alam publiko kung may karanasan sa mga taong ito…nalaman namin sa cellular fones nila na marami pa silang bibiktimahin," said Anna Labao of the NBI Intelligence Services.
The two men will be charged for estafa and for using fictitious names. -- Report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News