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PNP to elderly: Beware of Glue Ladies

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP to elderly: Beware of Glue Ladies
Manila Police District (MPD) director Col. Arnold Thomas Ibay delivers a speech on January 4, 2024.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — A criminal gang composed mostly of women is preying on senior citizens making cash withdrawals from automated teller machines.

The modus operandi of the group, according to the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) of the Philippine National Police, involves inserting a thin ruler – with glue on it – usually made of plastic, fiber glass or steel in the cash dispenser to trap the cash coming out of the machine. A victim, after failing to get cash from the ATM machine, would leave thinking there was just a technical glitch.

After the victim has left, a member of the gang – called Glue Ladies by the police –would pull out the ruler, with cash already sticking on it.

SOSIA chief Col. Marlou Roy Alzate said another tack is to put glue on the command keypads to prevent a client from completing a transaction. They would also put adhesive in the card slot to capture the ATM card.

The strategy aims to leave the victim confused as whether to cancel or carry on with the transaction.

“As this happens, the perpetrator who aptly acts as if she is the next in line will offer help in retrieving the card,” Alzate said.

The suspect will then convince the victim to punch her personal identification number and memorize the PIN. After the client’s several attempts fail, the perpetrator would then ask the victim to seek assistance from a bank employee or security guard.

“When the client leaves, the perpetrator will quickly retrieve the card and run away with it. She then withdraws all the money in another ATM machine,” he said.

The scammers also masquerade as employees of banks offering to assist depositors.

 The suspects would volunteer to deposit the money of unsuspecting victims, particularly senior citizens, with the bank teller.

“When the victim becomes busy doing the necessary filling up of the deposit forms or slips, the perpetrator will take the money or switch it with a similar-looking envelope and leave the bank immediately,” Alzate said.

Alzate ordered private security service providers, security guards and their units to conduct an information drive to prevent people from becoming victims of the syndicate.

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