Senior Citizens and Elderly Scam Club 

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc June 28,2019 - 07:27 AM

Amidst the recent order of President Rodrigo Duterte to crack down on the different scams, yet another scheme that involves a certain entity emerges.  

This time it is called Senior Citizens and Elderly Welfare Club of the Philippines Inc. (SCEW Club). This entity is doing fast recruitment in different parts of the country, and, recently, reaches Cebu City. 

The target people for recruitment are those who belong to the age bracket of 40 to 59 years old. Their way of enticement is they convince their would-be victims to become members of the club so that they can allegedly avail all the privileges of the true senior citizen.

For 300 pesos, the group offers discount booklets using the name of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that extends the claiming eligibility of the true senior citizen. The group further misled the people that members of SCEW club can avail of a 20 percent discount to food establishments, hotels, public and private hospitals, pharmacies, public transportations, cinemas etcetera. 

What an attractive offer! Could you just imagine that under our laws Senior citizen can avail of 20 percent discount upon purchase of goods and services? What a big savings to the one who is still able and actively working yet can already avail of the said discount! 

No wonder many took advantage to become a member. For the amount of 300 pesos, an individual will be given a membership form to be filled-out and an Identification Card (ID) bearing the abovementioned entity name signed by a certain Restituto E. Perez Jr., the alleged National President of the Club.  

The members are instructed that, like the true senior citizens, they just present their SCEW club IDs to avail the same privileges enjoyed by the true senior citizens. True enough, many have testified that they tried to use the said ID’s and they availed of the discounts. 

Such “privilege” is clearly very temporary until SCEW is caught misleading the said establishments. Surely, those establishments upon reading the ID with printed words “senior citizen” did not bother to scrutinize further the true age of the ID bearer. But it is clearly a fraud. 

DTI has finally issued a statement as regards the matter. “It has come to our knowledge that a certain entity, SCEW club, offers discount using the name of DTI. Please be WARNED that no such authority is granted by the department and the law to SCEW club. We have raised the matter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for investigation and appropriate action.”

Good that DTI is very quick in taking action against the so called SCEW club. I hope that SEC, the regular courts and other government agencies tasked to guard the people not to become victims of fraud, should do their share also. 

People should be reminded that under the law, only the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs established in the different Local Government Units is authorized to issue ID’s and booklets that involve privileges of senior citizens. People should be vigilant to report to the authorities any private entity doing suspicious activities. 

I would like to remind the people not to easily shell out their hard-earned money without checking first the background of an entity with the proper government agencies. 

This kind of fraud is very easy to detect. One can simply ask how come he can avail the “privileges” of the senior citizens when he has not reached such age yet? We should not allow ourselves to be victims of fraud. We should not allow ourselves to be used as instrument to victimize others.

And maybe a little amount of thinking will help.  

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