Public warned of fake ‘free subway rides’ promo

January 26, 2024 - 5:22 PM
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Manila Metro
Screengrab of a fake promo posted by the "Manila Metro" and posted by the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 on its Facebook page on Jan. 26, 2024 (dotrmrt3/Facebook)

Online offerings of supposed “free subway rides” for 12 months are not true, according to government entities and the owner of the beep™ card.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), which operates the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 (MRT-3), on Friday informed the public that it is not giving away any “12 Month Free Subway Rides Card” to the public.

It said that the promo was discovered on the Facebook page “Manila Metro,” which the agency said is “not in any way a part of or an official affiliate account under the DOTr or any of its attached agencies.”

The DOTr added that the page does not likewise represent AF Payments Inc (AFPI), the owner of the beep™ cards used in boarding the MRT and the Light Rail Transit trains.

“The DOTr advises the public to exercise caution when engaging with suspicious social media accounts misrepresenting as official government agencies. The DOTr and AFPI have NOT AUTHORIZED any sales of any ’12 Month Free Subway Rides Card,'” the transport agency said.

“The public should only refer to OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED communication channels, including VERIFIED social media accounts of the DOTr and its attached agencies,” the DOTr added.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the MRT-3 management also cautioned commuters about the fake promo from the said Facebook page.

“We strongly condemn such actions and appeal to everyone to exercise caution when engaging in online transactions,” MRT-3 Officer-in-Charge and Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette Aquino said in a statement posted on the accounts of the LRTA and the MRT-3.

“The DOTr, DOTr-MRT3, and the LRTA never request credit card details in any of their interactions with the public,” she added.

The AFPI likewise called the promo “misleading, bogus and fraudulent,” stating that it is not offering “12-month free subway rides” using its beep™ cards.

It added that an investigation into the online scheme is in progress.

“Users of beep™ cards and the riding public are advised to take the necessary precautions, and avoid clicking on or subscribing to any suspicious links that may expose their sensitive, personal and financial information,” AFPI said in a Facebook post.

“If you have any concerns or come across suspicious activities, please report them to us immediately through our official channels,” it added, mentioning that it has its own website and official social media accounts on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. 

Facebook search of “Manila Metro” no longer yields any results but according to the screengrabs provided by the DOTr, the page tricks commuters into getting a “12-month free travel card” for P168.

Another screengrab claims that it is offering a “free subway rides card” for 12 months “due to the price increases for Manila Metro travel cards.”

There is no subway card being sold by the AFPI. It only produces beep™ cards which are reloadable and do not have any 12-month promos.

The beep™ cards are used as a mode of payment for commuters who are taking the metro trains without them having to buy tickets from the counters. Top-ups of these cards are available at loading stations located at station platforms.