Mayor Benjamin Magalong has issued a fresh warning against scammers defrauding tourists and students availing of accommodation services in the city.
“To you unscrupulous swindlers who seek to gain profit out of unsuspecting tourists and students, you have no place in our city. We are going after you!” the mayor warned.
Magalong said scams, online or otherwise, have again proliferated with the onset of vacation season for the Christmas holidays.
Many of the fraudsters are agents pretending to be affiliated with legitimate establishments who are even posting advertorials at social media pages complete with downloaded photos and information of the legitimate establishments without the knowledge of the true owners.
These scammers are commonly asking for reservation fee or downpayment and upon receiving the payments in their transactions and after receiving the payment, they would block the unsuspecting customers.
The mayor also advised tourists and students to be doubly wary of the persons they are transacting with before agreeing to the deal or giving any payment.
“Make sure that you are transacting with the owners or owner-authorized agents of the establishments and not with poseurs,” he said.
The City Tourism Operations Office also advised visitors to transact only with accommodation establishments (AEs) listed under visita.baguio.gov.ph.
“Before sending your down payment, you may call our 24/7 hotline (074) 446-2009 to verify if the person that you are transacting with is really affiliated with legitimate AEs. We will coordinate with your chosen AE. You may also call or text the following contact numbers: 0956-572-9097 (7 a.m. to 4p.m.); 0956-572-9093 (2 p.m. -11 p.m.); 0956-572-9094 (10 p.m.-7 a.m.),” the tourism office advised.
Students, on the other hand, were advised to negotiate with the owners of the establishments personally and onsite. If not, they can do verification by calling the Permits and Licensing Division at (074) 619-3184 to confirm the names of registered owner/s and their contact numbers. – Aileen P. Refuerzo