'Guilt-ridden' scammer uses EJK threat to extort money

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2017 12:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2017 12:07 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - A netizen who almost fell victim to a scammer warned the public against a new tactic preying on people's fear of extrajudicial killings (EJK).

Jowell Carlos Mariano on Thursday warned his followers on social media that they should not entertain calls from strangers claiming to be guilt-ridden potential assassins.

Mariano said he received a call last Tuesday at around midnight from a man who introduced himself as "Raymond Dominguez."

The caller apparently knew Mariano's name and claimed he brought 5 vigilantes from Mindanao to Manila.

The caller then "confessed" that he was hired to kill Mariano and his family, and already sent his men to do so.

"He also said that he was hired to take me and my family out and that he had already sent out 5 of his people to get us, but that his conscience couldn't take killing us all because the original contract was just for me. So he decided to call me and give me a chance to save myself," Mariano wrote on Facebook.

This is not the fist instance of this kind of scam. Last month, a similar incident also happened to a businessman who was asked to pay money so that the killer will spare his life.

Mariano said the caller then asked him to send money via M. Lhuillier or Smart Padala, otherwise he will continue with the alleged contracted killing.

Mariano said he could not recall the initial amount the caller set, but they later settled on a fee sufficient for transportation to Mindanao.

The caller told him in a text message to send the money to a certain Laila E. Gomez, who had a different cellphone number.

Mariano, who works as a photographer, said that he remembered hearing of similar extortion attempts from his acquaintances in the wedding industry.

"I remembered there were similar cases of this in the wedding industry. So when our call got cut, I just ignored his next 13 calls. He was really persistent as he tried 'till 3 a.m.,” Mariano said.

Asked how the caller could have known his name, Mariano said the person might have seen his contact details online, as he promotes his talents on Facebook and his website.

The following day, he heard of two others who got similar calls from the same number that was used to call him.

Mariano advised others to be vigilant, and to think twice before sending money to scammers hoping to catch victims off guard, instilling fear and panic during the wee hours of the morning.

"First and foremost, be mindful. Don't panic and think about what the person is telling you - if it makes sense or not. Always be vigilant", he said.

According to Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Sr. Supt. Dionardo Carlos, such incidents use old "modus operandi" but urged the public to report any encounters to 911.

"We've been giving information materials regarding this. Luma na po yan (that is old)," he said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.

"If they doubt it, then report it," he added, referring to the calls.