DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Oct) – Mayor Sara Duterte warned Dabawenyos against scammers who are preying on residents here whose personal contact details are being “stolen” through the contact-tracing forms that they filled out upon entry to establishments.
Duterte said in her Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) program on Monday that local authorities reported there are persons who have been receiving text messages from unknown senders who are extorting cash after filling out contact-tracing forms.
“They will just suddenly call or text you. When we ask them to recall when was the last time that they gave their contact number or email, they would say that they just filled out the contact-tracing forms in the stores. Usually, when we do the tracing, it is linked to these forms,” she said.
The mayor said that some of these senders also presented themselves as alleged members of the communist movement extorting money.
“There was a caller, for example, ‘Ka Inday’ of Guerrilla Front 54: you must pay us cash’,” Duterte said.
The mayor told the establishments to keep the contact-tracing forms of their clients as “private and secured.”
“Every time we receive reports of scam or every time somebody reaches out to us to report the threats, we report them to the Davao City Police Office for investigation,” she said.
She said the local government hopes to address the proliferation of scams with the implementation of “Safe Davao QR,” a contactless system for faster contract-tracing efforts which will also limit the non-essential movement of people in the city.
Through the QR system, Duterte said the residents would no longer have to fill out the forms as the contact-tracing would be done electronically, eradicating the chances of scammers to steal the contact details.
She said the QR system of the city is undergoing a pilot-testing, and could be availed of only by city government workers.
But Duterte warned city government workers to avoid posting their QR codes on social media to avoid “identity theft.”
“We can make contact-tracing using this technology and this is not available for the general public because we are pilot-testing it among city government employees because the entire program is not yet complete,” she said.
She added that each resident of the city would be assigned a permanent QR code.
“Sirs and Ma’ams of the city government, do not publish your QR code because, once you publish it, your personal and permanent QR code on social media can be grabbed,” Duterte warned.
She said the local government could cancel the QR code of an individual once it finds out that it is being abused and used for non-essential activity. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)