DUMAGUETE CITY – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Negros Oriental is urging the public to be wary when talking to strangers to avoid falling prey to the so-called “budol-budol” swindling operations.
The word of caution came following an incident early this week where a beauty shop owner in Bais City, Negros Oriental lost more than half a million pesos worth of jewelry to “budol-budol” suspects.
NBI Special Investigator Coco Lastimoso on Wednesday said “if it’s too good to be true, most likely, it's not true.”
He said people should be wary with strangers who befriend them and make some offers that are questionable.
He was referring to the way the victim, Gina Remorosa, who hails from Cavite but is currently residing in Bais City, was enticed by the suspects to become the manager of a foundation that they would establish.
Remorosa said one of the suspects, a woman, asked her to accompany her to Tanjay City, adjacent to Bais City, where she could buy some household items.
While in the suspect’s vehicle, another woman arrived and said she knew where to get the house materials, and they all met the third suspect in Tanjay City, who was bringing a brochure of the supposed house materials the first suspect wanted to purchase.
The victim said she felt being hypnotized as she hurriedly went home to get 24 pieces of jewelry, which she gave to the suspects as “collateral” after she was given a huge bundle of supposed paper bills inside a bag.
Remorosa said when she opened the bag, she found that only the top paper bill was genuine while the rest in the bundle were just cut pieces of paper.
The five suspects, who included the mestiza-looking lady, an elderly woman, a lesbian, the man bringing the brochure and a lookout, could no longer be located.
NBI Agent Lastimoso said this is the third complaint of “budol-budol" with the same modus operandi that they received from Bais City since last year.
The modus operandi is in the form of enticement in exchange for money.
But in this case, Lastimoso said it was unusual for the victim to go home to get her jewelry and turn these over to the suspects.
The fact that the victim rode in the vehicle of strangers is already against her personal safety, he said.
The NBI investigator does not believe the victim was hypnotized because she had the chance to get out of the vehicle to get her jewelry. (PNA)