Overseas Filipino Workers alerted on SMS scams

Posted by on Sep 23rd, 2009 and filed under Featured, News Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

text message free money

Our fellow Pinoys working overseas are currently being warned about text message scams proliferating across Europe and U.S.

The modus operandi of these scam artists is to inform the victim that he/she has won prize money (worth millions of pesos) in raffle sponsored by a government institution. To claim the prize, the innocent victim should transmit money to pay for taxes and/or remittance fees.

The unsuspecting victims fall prey on the scam artists’ claims that the raffle was connected to the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP). These bastards also lure many OFWs by using prominent officials such as BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. and BIR Commissioner Sixto Esquivias.

The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) has already issued an alert to other Philippine embassies about the SMS scams. They have issued an alert statement informing the public about these scammers.

The DFA discourages overseas Filipino workers from responding to messages claiming they had won a large amount of money in an electronic lottery or raffle

A woman currently living in Austria claimed that she paid a sum of 4,000 euros (258,000 Php) via Western Union to claim her prize. The scammer even asked a donation after the money is transferred. Apparently, these guys already perfected how to manipulate people’s emotions and way of thinking to make their victims blindly “eat” every word they say.

How to avoid being scammed by these people?

1. Always Verify

double check

Whenever in doubt, verify and double check the messages you receive. How much will it cost you to make an overseas call to BSP/BIR offices? Not too much right? Compare that with the amount money you will lose by not doing it. Ask if they are “really” sponsoring such raffle/ giving such prize money. Don’t be like other people who would immediately get excited and ecstatic upon hearing/receiving messages that they won cash prizes (scam artists know this and play it to their advantage.

The same goes with online prizes and email messages. The story goes like, this person (living in a far far away land of Africa) has a wealthy father who just died and he (scammer) has a problem disposing huge sums of money. The scammer will ask for your credit card number to take part with the “pot of gold”. It won’t take you an hour to search and know if this news is valid. To get you started, go to www.google.com and search for these scams (email, txt msg, phone, credit card, counterfeits etc.). You will be surprised how rampant they are.

For other online scams, please visit our BestandWorst section.

2. Everytime you hear a prize money usually it isn’t true

cash prize surprise

Unless you 100% knew that you joined a raffle or you participated a contest, ALWAYS DOUBT these kind of announcements. Who in their right minds would give a FREE cash? and huge sums too (even free food and lodging is hard to find these days). When it comes to money it’s alright to be a little pessimistic (thinking that something is going to go wrong). I consider it being just a  realistic individual. This is your neck at risk here; so you better protect it.

3. Using a 3rd party is very dubious

third party

I encountered someone (a girl) advertising a 2nd hand car on a popular online advertisement. According to her, she is currently situated in U.K. and is trying to sell her car (cheaply, a 2003 sedan for 200K Php.) located in a province. She suggested that if I’m interested with the deal, I may need to open an account in Yahoo! money. This will serve as a 3rd party or an escrow that will temporarily hold the money until I see and test the car.

So how will I see and have the car for test drive?

She said that she is willing to go back to the Philippines (just for this deal)and get the car herself and give it to me. I can test drive the car for 5 days and if it isn’t good I can return it? (If you’ll think for a moment, why would she have all the trouble in the world just to deliver the car without any guarantee that she will get the deal? smells fishy ei?).

To make the story short, I searched online for similar claims like this and sure enough there were many. Friends, on the example above you can see 2 distinct flaws on her statements. First is using Yahoo! money. I searched the web and guess what? I never see any escrow of such kind on Yahoo,  so this one was already bogus. Plus, I never met an advertiser who would want to do such kind of transaction. The seller usually wants to see the payment immediately. The transparency is present between  seller and the buyer. This is the right way of doing business and not the garbage she mentioned.

Second is the sacrifice flight back to the country. Why do all this trouble, don’t you have any friends to assist you? neighbors? ex-lovers? (she claimed that she didn’t have any relatives here). I can’t believe she’s a Filipino and doesn’t have any acquaintances (or former friends) in the country. Maybe she’s an eccentric person or a loner either of which making a deal doesn’t sound good.

Final words

Remember guys, these scam artists are present because they know there are many naive people to victimize. Don’t jump into your emotions and be gullible to these scammers, they know how to go around and toy with your excitement or misery. Always analyze every word they say, for sure, you can see “loop holes” on their claims. There’s nothing to lose if you will be more careful.

(source: Inquirer)

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