Mastermind in manufacture of fake ATMs, credit cards arrested



Suspect Gerard Joseph Liwag

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has arrested a man in Taguig City for producing fake ATM and credit cards.

NBI Director Dante Gierran identified the suspect as Gerard Joseph Liwag, who was captured at a condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City on October 9.

The NBI said a representative of a commercial bank filed a complaint against the suspect over his illegal activities.

Based on the information received by the NBI on the suspect’s identity, Liwag is the mastermind of an organized syndicate group involved in the production and use of fake local and international ATMs and credit cards.

Fake ATM cards

The group victimizes people in malls and casinos in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

The modus operandi of the suspect involves collecting information through call centers and other business establishments.

“The cards are manufactured and produced by him only the information is stolen, so these are not stolen cards but the information are stolen from legit cards and transferred to a blank card and made to appear as legit card,” said NBI Forensic Investigation Director Spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin.

NBI said pieces of information are stolen by swiping the cards through a skimming device and transferring data and to a laptop.

“Dalawa ang nakikitang pamamaraan ng pagnakaw ng information. Remember ang ninanakaw nito information. It’s not the card. Yung card ginagawa niya and then igagawa niya doon sa buyer of the card kung anong gusto mong pangalan with the information with the credit limit na nadoon sa nakuhang card,” said Lavin.

The suspect, however, has denied the crime.

“Nothing. No comment. This all a setup. I don’t want to talk too much. They’re not mine,” said the suspect.

According to the NBI, the syndicate has been operating for five years. It is hard to believe that he had no help in carrying out all the illegal transactions.

The suspect violated Republic Act 8484 or the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998 in relation to Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 due to the production of counterfeit ATM and credit cards.

Seized from the suspect are different classes of expensive tools used in the production of fake cards such as a card printer, embossing machine, high definition printer, storage device, skimming device, laptops, point of sale card terminal, blank cards and 80 various cards.

Authorities also found the suspect in possession of a gun, ammunition, fake IDs and passports.

The public is advised to take caution as the holiday season draws near.

The NBI urged victims of the group to report the crime to authorities.

Currently, the NBI is coordinating with the US Embassy to speed up the resolution of the case.

“We’ll be coordinating with foreign counterparts. Hopefully, with the help of media, other victims will come out not only institutional victims but also yung individual cardholders. Mayroon ditong American Express so accordingly, we will inform the US Embassy on this and they should act immediately because baka mayroon pang ibang transaksyon,” said Lavin. — Yssa Jalmasco (with reports from Catherine Joy Maglalang)

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