BY SHIELA G. GELERA
About 15 persons went to Police Station 2 at B.S. Aquino Drive in Bacolod City to complain that they were victimized by a Bacolod resident, through a rice investment scam, last week.
P/Capt. Leo Estopa, Station 2 chief, said yesterday that the complainants alleged they invested money ranging from P100,000 to P1 million to a Bacoleña, who transacted with them about a rice investment.
The investment started during the Enhanced Community Quarantine in April. It was only last week when they discovered that they were scammed, Estopa said.
He said the modus of the scammer was to encourage someone to invest a certain amount of money for a percentage payout every month, depending on the turnout of the sale of rice.
Estopa said that some of the complainants received payouts for the first one to two months, but failed to get payments in the succeeding months. When they asked the woman to return their money, they could no longer reach her, he added.
The complainants thought the investment was legit because they had been receiving payouts, and the suspect even presented a written contract with them, he said.
The rice investment scam was also reported in Panay earlier this month and the police are now investigating similar cases in Bacolod, P/Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, Bacolod City Police Office public information officer, said yesterday.
Estopa said that since it can be considered as large scale estafa, the complainants were referred to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the National Bureau of Investigation.
The complainants are mostly employees, businessmen, and those with online jobs, Estopa said, adding that there could be more victims who have yet to seek the help of authorities and have the incident recorded.
Pico said the public should be cautious if an investment offers a huge payout or interest rate compared to what most of the banks are offering because there is a greater chance that the deal is a scam.*