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Thursday, November 20, 2008

DTI, NBI and Western Union Strengthen Anti-fraud Efforts in the Philippines

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Bureau of Investigation launched a consumer awareness campaign in the Philippines called the Security Awareness and Fraud Education (S.A.F.E.) Program in line with National Consumer Welfare Month. The S.A.F.E. Program equips consumers with the necessary knowledge and tools to prevent them from falling victim to scams.

The DTI, the NBI and Western Union are working together on a concerted effort to protect consumers against fraud. This unique collaboration marks the first time that business and law enforcement agencies in the Philippines are working together to raise awareness among consumers about fraud prevention.

“Any Filipino can fall victim to fraud – regardless of their education level, economic status or social background. Perpetrators of fraud are constantly coming up with ways to entice people into new scams. If we can educate people about the types of fraud they will be better prepared to protect themselves. That’s a goal we hope to achieve with the SAFE program,” said DTI Secretary Peter Favila.

NBI Director Atty. Nestor Mantaring explained that once money and other valuable items are in the hands of fraudsters, they are difficult to recover. “We want to educate and inform the public about how they can protect themselves from various scams before fraudsters contact them either through e-mail or SMS. We appreciate Western Union’s initiative in supporting both the DTI and our current anti-fraud and consumer education efforts,’ he said.

Patricia Riingen, Western Union regional vice president for Philippines and IndoChina, said, “At Western Union, we do our utmost to protect our customers’ hard-earned money. Our system is designed to send money to people whom they trust such as families and friends. We advise consumers to always think twice if they don’t know the person they are sending money to, have been told to keep these deals secret, or have been asked to forward funds into a stranger’s account. When in doubt, we advise consumers to always consult the DTI or the NBI.”

In line with the launch of the S.A.F.E. Program, Western Union has re-designed its money transfer forms and added fraud prevention information as well as the NBI Hotline to encourage people to ask the right questions before they send their money.

S.A.F.E. posters and flyers offering tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud will be placed at over 7,300 Western Union Agent locations in the Philippines, as well as DTI and NBI offices nationwide over the next six months.

Western Union has successfully rolled out similar consumer education campaigns in Australia, Singapore and London, the United Kingdom.

DTI Direct (751. 3330) is available for consumers with inquiries regarding possible fraud-related e-mails or SMS messages. To report cases of fraud, the NBI Hotline is available at +63 2 523 82 31. Consumer-friendly advice on fraud prevention can be found on, and


About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is the world’s leader in global money transfer services. Together with its affiliates, Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, Western Union provides consumers with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. It operates through a network of more than 355,000 service provider locations in over 200 countries and territories. Famous for its pioneering telegraph services, the original Western Union dates back to 1851. For more information, visit

About the Department of Trade and Industry
As a key agency of the Philippine Government, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is charged with creating a business-friendly environment conducive to the growth of enterprises and supportive of fair and robust trade in goods and services, both within and outside the Philippines. DTI wears several hats - it is a coordinating agency for all government activities related to trade, industry, and investments; a promotional machinery for further trade and investments; and a regulatory body to ensure that fair competition prevails. At present, DTI exercises its mandates through 20 line bureaus/support offices, 14 attached agencies which are manned by over 5,000 employees. It has 16 regional and 78 provincial offices nationwide. For more information, visit

About the National Bureau of Investigation
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) aims to establish and maintain a modern, effective and efficient investigative service and research agency for the purpose of implementing fully principal functions provided under Republic Act No. 157, as amended. The NBI aims to provide quality services for efficient law enforcement in the pursuit of truth and justice. For more information, visit

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