Gov’t intensifies crackdown vs multilevel marketing scammers
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Monday it would step up efforts to combat multilevel marketing (MLM) scams, including pyramid schemes, vowing to build up further its consumer education campaign in the country.
Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who heads the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group, told this to the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, adding that they were also now conducting public lectures about MLMs.
“We will intensify some more the consumer education that we do,” Castelo told the Senate committee, adding they have resource speakers discussing different topics that people would need to know to protect themselves from fraud.
Castelo said DTI was conducting its consumer care webinar series twice a week, every Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The DTI has been running after multilevel marketing companies that are not legitimate; we are on this with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” she also said.
Scrutinizing merchantsThe DTI grants a seal of legitimacy to companies that pass its evaluation, allowing the public to distinguish which ones operate as legitimate MLM or direct selling companies.
Random and periodic audits are also conducted by the DTI to ensure continued compliance among these companies.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo, who was at the Senate hearing, decried the proliferation of MLMs promising quick and easy money to people at the height of the pandemic.
“I think it’s about time na humanap po kayo ng paraan para masiguro na itong mga multilevel marketing company ay hindi na mag-dominate (you look for ways to ensure that these MLM companies do not dominate), especially online,” Tulfo said, as he urged the DTI to also work with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Tulfo said he was receiving a lot of similar complaints in his radio program. He noted having successfully worked with the authorities to shut down the scammers only to see them operate again at a later time.
“In many cases, these companies were shut down because of me. But I’d find out that after a few days that they reopened for business using a different name,” he explained. INQ
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