Philippine Airlines has warned the public against buying “cheap” airline tickets being sold by scam artists on social media sites – such as Facebook.
The scam’s modus operandi involves bulk-buying of tickets that are then sold at low rates via social media sites. Individuals who are enticed to purchase these tickets are eventually informed that the tickets are in the name of fictitious people; the buyers are then offered fake IDs for presentation at airport check-in.
According to PAL express head of security Rear Admiral Jorge Amba, the number of passengers caught using fake IDs increased over the past months.
As of October 5, 2018, there were 68 apprehensions in different airports around the country, with a particular concentration in Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Bacolod and Clark.
“Since the tickets were bought online in bulk under different (fake) names, passengers who bought cheap round-trip tickets were also supplied with fake IDs by the sellers”, said Rear Admiral Amba. “Our airport front liners are trained to distinguish counterfeit IDs. So if you presented a fake ID, you will surely miss your flight and will have tons of problems”, he added.
Apprehended passengers using fake IDs can be charged with violation of Article 178 – Using Fictitious Name and Concealing True Name and Article 172 – Falsification of Public Documents of the Revised Penal Code, which has a corresponding penalty of imprisonment from 1 month or 2 to 6 years, respectively. Amba noted that the law has been in existence for decades, but advancement in technology and social media has enabled these fraud schemes to flourish.
“We are issuing a warning against those individuals who patronize this kind of scam. Our airport front liners are highly trained to identify counterfeits. To avoid hassles and serious legal trouble, we are advising the public to buy their (own) tickets from PAL ticket offices and accredited travel agents only. The safety and security of the passengers will always be our topmost priority. We cannot let syndicates proliferate at the expense of our passengers”, said PAL express President Bonifacio U. Sam.