(PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) would deploy plain-clothed officers in areas of convergence as part of intensified security operations for the Christmas season.

In a radio interview on Friday, PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, said this is to ensure there will be no heightened criminal activities such as pickpockets or hold uppers that will victimize the people who will be doing their shopping.

"Aside from the uniformed police, we will also deploy secret or civilian police or intelligence police," she added.

Aside from the police, she said there will also be the force multipliers such as the village watchmen that will help them guard malls, supermarkets and flea markets.

This comes as petty crimes are expected to soar during the holiday season.

Fajardo also said that a total of 6,000 tourist-oriented personnel are to be deployed in areas where they expect bigger crowds.

Iyong ating mahigit 6,000 na tourist-trained police ay asahan ninyo na this early ay nandiyan na po sila para maramdaman ng ating mga kababayan kasama ang kanilang mahal sa buhay na sila ay ligtas at makakapag-enjoy po ng kanilang bakasyon (The more than 6,000 tourist-trained police are expected to be deployed this early so that our fellow Filipinos will feel the security along with their loved ones that they are safe and that they can enjoy their vacations),” she said.

The PNP has earlier ordered the cancellation of leave applications for police personnel as part of its holiday security measures.

Fajardo said all applications for leave from Dec. 15 to Jan. 10 next year would be canceled, following an order from PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., for increased police presence and visibility for the holiday season.

She also reminded the public anew to be careful against counterfeit money.

She encouraged the public to turn over the counterfeit money to banks or file complaints against persons or establishments that disbursed fake peso bills.

Fajardo said they already had set up assistance desks at the transport hubs and major thoroughfares.

Meanwhile, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) also warned the public against online scammers who are also working double time to dupe victims.

PNP ACG spokesperson, Lt. Michelle Sabino, said scammers are luring victims into online cryptocurrency investments.

“Cryptocurrency investment scam is a new modus of scammers now. They invite investors to invest money using crypto but it turns out it is a fake investment,” Sabino explained.

Sabino said scammers usually find investors who are willing to invest through a digital wallet or online banking.

The investor will then be convinced to download a fake crypto application where one can monitor the fund they have invested.

She said the investor will be enticed to put in more money because the fund can be seen growing at an exponential rate over a short period of time.

“Once you start to withdraw, you won’t be able to withdraw your money. That’s how you know you have been a victim of a crypto investment scam,” Sabino added.

The modus is for potential “investors’ to download a specific cryptocurrency app which when installed will require them to cash in their investments in digital wallets listed in the application.

In the dashboard of the apps, account holders will be able to see the amount of money they have invested and the high interest their money has earned over time.

As investors begin to see the growing interest their money has generated in a short period of time, they are enticed to invest more.

When investors start to withdraw their money, the apps will not allow them to withdraw. This is when investors would realize they have been victims of a cryptocurrency investment scam.

Sabino, however, said they have yet to receive formal complaints from victims of cryptocurrency scams.

Huwag po tayong maniniwala sa mga investment na ang promise of interest o return of interest ay sobrang laki dahil wala pong ganoon. So most probably kayo po ay isang potential victim ng isang investment scam (Let us not believe investments that promise very big return of interest because it does not exist. Most probably you are potential victims of an investment scam),” Sabino said. (PNA)