Free massage leads to P57,000 card purchase-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
THE City Intelligence Branch (CIB) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) warned the public about a deceitful marketing strategy that is usually pitched in the mall.
The marketing ploy involves offering free massage and luring the prospective victim into joining a raffle that offers expensive prizes.
Adelaida Zarate, 67, a resident of Mandaue City, sought the help of the CIB after she fell victim to the marketers last December 10.
She took the courage of reporting the incident after the local news media reported instances of a marketing scam similar to what she had experienced.
She said that at 4 p.m. of December 10, she was walking around the mall when a decent-looking man came up to her and offered her to try out a massaging machine.
"They have a way of persuading people so I tried their massage machine. While having the massage, one showed me a raffle bowl and told me to pick one and check what I won," she said in Bisaya.
She said the name of the company was Hilton Marketing.
Another marketer told her she won kitchen utensils.
"I was delighted that I won. One of them asked for my identification card or credit card for verification and record purposes," Zarate said.
She said she had forgotten her ID so she gave her credit card instead.
The man borrowed the card, went to another area and swiped it without her knowledge, Zarate said.
The other marketers were distracting her from giving attention to the man who had her credit card, she said.
When the man came back, he told Zarate that she could now take home her winnings.
Zarate said she brought home kitchen ware such as pots, electric cooker and utensils.
The next day, her credit card company informed her of a P56,900-bill of a purchase on kitchen ware.
She then realized that she paid for the "prizes" the marketers told her she had won.
Zarate said she went to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to check the company's legitimacy.
She said the DTI representative who attended to her merely told her that such marketing ploys were rampant but did not act on her complaint.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to contact Hilton Marketing, whose office is located in Banilad, Cebu City, but to no avail.
CIB Chief Romeo Santander said a charge for violation of Republic Act 8484 or the Access Device Act in relation to Estafa will be filed against the company.
He said CIB has been receiving similar complaints but could not pursue a case because the company and the "victim" would settle the matter between them.
"The company will return the money to the victim. This company operates in different malls all over the city," Santander said.
He said the company sells kitchen utensils and has a deceitful marketing strategy.
Santander said the elderly are mostly the target since they can easily be distracted, making it easier for the marketers to swipe the card.
"Never give any credit card or IDs to these people. Or better yet, do not entertain them," advised Santander to public.
He said his office coordinate with the DTI and the malls to check why the operation of this company was approved in view of its deceitful ploy.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2013.