“Gun for Hire” scammer tries to extort money from UP professor

MANILA, Philippines - Through a lengthy post on Facebook, a University of the Philippines Diliman professor has alerted netizens about a “gun for hire” modus operandi.

“Gun for Hire” scammer tries to extort money from UP professor

Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco warned netizens not to be victimized by “gun for hire” scammers who issue death threats just to extort money. According to him, he almost fell prey to the modus operandi on Tuesday, December 6, after receiving a text message from a person who identified himself as Mark Flores.

Flores, who claimed he was a hitman, told Tiatco he was instructed to kill him and his family by someone who paid P300,000. The hitman then warned Tiatco that he is the only one who could save his life.

After hearing Flores’ threatening message, Tiatco decided to turn off his cellphone. Later on, he received a text message from a different mobile number. This time, the hitman warned him that if he can’t immediately take action, he will have no choice but to kill him and his family.

Tiatco was finally convinced that Flores was serious when he was told that they knew he was working at UP Diliman.

"Wag ka nang magsalita - makinig ka lang. Ako lang ang makakatulong sa iyo ngayon. May mga tauhan na ako na nakapaligid sa yo at sa mga mahal mo sa buhay. Pero kaya kitang bigyan ng proteksiyon. May mga nagastos na mga tao ko, Php 70,000.00. Ibalik mo lang ito - hindi na kita ipapatumba. Nakonsensiya kasi ako na pati mga pamilya mo ipinapasama.”

He was ordered to send the money to Flores’ alleged female hitman, a certain Gracia D. Reyes.

The UP professor then decided to report the matter to Camp Crame after receiving several calls from Flores. Tiatco eventually realized everything was just a modus operandi after learning that another person from UP was almost victimized.

It was indeed a lesson learned for Tiatco, who almost gave in to demands of the extortionist. He then gave tips to avoid similar incidents.

1. Don’t share your contact details in the Internet including social media and websites. Don’t include your contact number in your curriculum vita if you’re going to upload it.

2. Don’t panic and try to stay calm.

3. Don’t attempt to answer a call from a stranger.

4. Think clearly and logically.

5.Contact PNP's Anti-Cybercrime Group at 414-1560 if you encounter such a call.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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