Overseas calls ‘illegal,’ halted-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
CEBU -- Law enforcers arrested Thursday two call center representatives and seized some P1 million worth of their office equipment allegedly used in engaging in illegal overseas call system.
Globe Telecom sought the help of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 (CIDG) after finding out that We Talk Direct information center, a company that services calls from abroad, was reportedly engaging in illegal transactions.
The company offers international phone calls at a cheap rate using an alleged illegal system and tapping into Globe’s services, resulting in millions of pesos in losses on the part of Globe.
We Talk Direct representatives Rebecca Paracuelles and RJ Avendula were arrested during the raid in their office on Don Pedro Cui St. in Barangay San Antonio, Cebu City yesterday morning, Police Inspector Delfin Bontuyan said.
The two declined media interviews after their arrest.
Some equipment allegedly used for making long-distance phone calls were confiscated from the office, including computer sets, modems, SIM packs and servers.
The raid was conducted based on a search warrant issued by Judge Eric Menchavez of the Regional Trial Court Branch 21.
Jojo Viray of the security operations Visayas Division of Globe Telecom said that because of the alleged illegal operations of the company, Globe lost about P3 million since We Talk Direct started operating in 2011.
We Talk Direct reportedly offers incoming calls to at least 31 subscribers from different countries.
The company is said to have contacts abroad who look for subscribers.
“They are using our SIM packs for our services but they changed the rate through their system so that they will pay us a much lesser amount,” Viray said.
He said that through the illegal system that it installed, We Talk Direct was allegedly able to convert the international calls into local calls, resulting in a lower phone bill from Globe Telecom.
“For example, instead of paying P15 per minute for inbound calls from abroad, they will only pay us P1 since they illegally converted it. But the rate they offer to their subscribers is still the same or even higher,” Viray said.
A complaint for violation of Republic Act 8484 or the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998 will be filed against the company.
According to its website wetalkdirect.com, the company offers unlimited two-way calling to the US for as low as $19.99 a month, with discounted international rates for calls to over 200 countries.
To place a long-distance call, a subscriber needs to buy a We Talk kit that includes an IP phone, network cable, power adapter and telephone wire from the company.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2013.