Authorities: Be careful on booking reservations online
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Summer is on and local authorities here urge travelers that when they book their reservations online, they should do so directly with the establishment.
The local government of Santa Fe and the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) issued this reminder following reports that tourists bound for Santa Fe during the Holy Week fell victim to online scams.
Santa Fe Mayor Ithamar Espinosa, in an interview with CDN Digital, encouraged tourists who want to reserve accommodations in their town to do so directly with the resort or property owners.
“As much as possible, please book directly to the establishments,” Espinosa said.
Police Lt. Col. Gerald Ace Pelare, PRO-7 spokesperson, also echoed the same statement. Pelare told the public to practice caution when booking online.
“Dili ta magpataka ug book. We have to call sa resort to verify and to make sure tinuud (ang resort or property kung aha mo magpuyo),” he said.
Eight individuals claimed to have fallen victims to online travel scams over the Holy Week.
The tourists, bound for Santa Fe, told authorities they paid between P4,000 to P8,000 as a downpayment for room reservations to what seemed like a fake travel and tour agency that claimed to have affiliations with Santa Fe-based resorts.
However, upon their arrival at the municipality, it turned out that no reservations had been made under their name.
In the meantime, Pelare said the local government unit of Santa Fe has coordinated with the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit to determine the identities of the scammers.
The PRO-7 official also assured the public that the incident is considered an ‘isolated-case’ and that they have not received similar reports from other areas during the Holy Week.
Santa Fe is a fifth-class municipality that forms part of Bantayan Island and located approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Cebu City.
The town is a popular beach destination for both local and foreign tourists. In the recent long weekend, local officials there reported that all properties – from resorts to vacation rentals – were fully booked.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.