DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte warned Dabawenyos against scammers, who are preying on residents whose personal contact details they have obtained from contact-tracing forms being filled up at entrances to establishments.
Duterte said local authorities reported that there were persons, who have been receiving text messages from unknown senders who are trying to extort cash from them.
“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 in the stores. Usually, when we do the tracing, it is linked to these forms,” she said.
She said that some of these senders also introduced themselves as alleged members of the Communist movement so that they could extort money from their victims.
“There was a caller—for example, ‘Ka Inday’ of Guerrilla Front 54—you must pay us cash,” she said.
The mayor told establishments to keep the contact-tracing forms of their clients information “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 the people in the city.
Through the QR system, she said Dabawenyos need not fill out the comtact-tracing forms as records would be filed and kept electronically, eradicating the chances of scammers to steal the contact details.
She said the QR system of the city was already 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 said 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“Sirs and ma’ams of the city government, do not publish your QR code because, once you publish it, your personal and permanent QR code on social media can be grabbed,” she said.
She said the local government would cancel the QR code of an individual once it finds out that it was being abused and used for non-essential activity.