Cyber crime division warns of fraudulent online sales
The Viagra you’re buying through the Internet may be fake – and it could be coming from agents selling them in Cebu.
This scenario unfolded when police raided a call center in Mandaue City to search for evidence of the fraudulent on-line sale of Viagra and other branded sexual potency drugs.
Almost 100 employees of 724 Care Incorporated were not allowed to leave for almost five hours while agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) inspected the premises in AD Gothong IT Center Building in Lopez Jaena Street, barangay Subangdaku last Monday.
Police said they seized one desktop unit, an LCD monitor, a keyboard, a Plantronics dialer, headset, power cord, and LAN cable but no software because the office was using “cloud computing” or a remote server which can hide a clear data trail.
Nevertheless, the police sought the help of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to retrieve from Google company the files and documents used in the activities.
No arrests were made.
A search warrant was served by the CIDG Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crimes Division on the business development manager Rainer Dominic Obenza.
The seized items were brought to the new 7th Regional Digital Forensic Laboratory in the Cebu City.
Before the raid, police did a “test buy” following a complaint lodged by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer that unauthorized online sales were being made using the brand name of its virility drug Viagra, said Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa.
Sosa said another anti-impotence drug called Cialis of Eli Lily and Company was also being sold on line from spurious sources.
The search warrant was issued by Executive Judge Marino Dela Cruz Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 22, where a complaint is pending.
Sosa said police will file charges against the company and its officers for violation of two laws – Republic Act 8484 or The Access Devices Act, and Special Laws on Counterfeit Drugs.
The first law prohibits “obtaining money or anything of value through the use of an access device, with intent to defraud or with intent to gain and fleeing thereafter”.
During the raid, which began past 10 p.m. management lawyer Dominador Cafe protested the police action of holding almost 100 workers in the premises. He said the company lost revenue during the work stoppage.
He denied that the call center was involved in selling enhancement drugs. He said 724 Care Inc. was only engaged in selling insurance services.
Police explained that the workers were not allowed to go home while the search was still on going.
At one point, Cafe led employees to open the door and asked the police. “What’s your name, sir? Write down all your names.”
This time, Sosa barred him and ordered his arrest.
Cafe was then brought in a room where they and CIDG-7 chief, Senior Supt. Jose Pante talked. About 20 minutes later, the three came out from room laughing.
Cafe told reporters they only had a misunderstanding: “We have the same condition – high blood and diabetes.”
The raid was mad in the presence of barangay tanods Joel Dublin and Vicente Cabalquinto.
Senior Supt. Sosa said that before police applied for a search warrant, four former employees squealed about the online sales. He said the CIDG was able to do a test buy of Viagra to confirm the information.
In his July 17 spot report to the CIDG director in Camp Crame, Zosa said the police “were not able to seize other computers enumerated in the search warrant considering that the computer work stations laid out in the call center do not contain hard drives and storage media since the 724 Care Inc IT Administrator use “cloud computing technology” such as Google Applications in storing their data to avoid tracking of documents and files in the actual sites.”
Zosa said they coordinated with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to preserve and retrieve from Google the files and documents used in the fraud activities using the domain name 724care.net under Google Apps accounts./ Chito O. Aragon, Correspondent