PAL warns against counterfeit airline tickets

By Benjamin Lim Vergara

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THE Philippine Airlines has expressed concern about the proliferation of scams where “cheap” airlines tickets together with fake identification cards are sold to the unsuspecting public.

This after the PAL has observed the rise in number of people being victimized by scammers on social media like Facebook selling fake airline tickets.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the 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.”

Despite several announcements made against scam, many consumers are falling prey to various modus operandi because of proliferation of fake airline tickets that has been sold “cheap” online.

PAL Express head of security Jorge Amba revealed that several passengers caught using fake IDs has increased over the past months.

The airline reported that as of October 5, 2018, there were 68 apprehensions in different airports around the country, mostly 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,” Amba said, adding that “our airport front liners are trained to distinguished counterfeit IDs. So if you presented a fake ID, you will surely miss your flights and will have tons of problems.”

There is a criminal liability if passengers caught using fake identification cards and 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 corresponding penalty of imprisonment from one 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 of the passengers will always be our topmost priority. We cannot let syndicates proliferate at the expense of our passengers,” PAL Express President Bonifacio U. Sam said.


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Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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