Monday, July 12, 2010

Text scams in the Philippines -- beware!

Just last week, I received two fraudulent text messages. This isn't the first time, but it's the first time that I decided not to hit the delete button immediately -- which is my usual reaction.

Contest prize text scamFraudulent Text #1: "CONGRATULATIONS! Ur cel# WON... (insert prize here)...". This time, it's P300,000 and a Honda CRV. Another time it was some other amount of cash and a Toyota Innova. It's usually cash and a car. This is actually an old scam as it has been going around for a few years already.

I never joined any contest that offered any of those prizes so my first reaction was to ignore and delete the text. I've heard of instances though when the recipient actually believed the notification. What usually happens is:
  • You'll be asked to supply personal details.
  • You'll be asked to pay processing fees.
This is unsafe in so many different levels. While common sense dictates that you must never give out information of any sort to people you don't know, sometimes the lure of a big prize can be hard to resist. Remember, if you did not join any contest, it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE for you to win.

Fraudulent Text #2: "Musta na kayo dyan? Ito na nga pala new roaming number ko...". It tells you that the person on the other end has a package to send. The first time I received this, the text was in English and it wasn't jejemonic. My husband was out of the country at the time, but it never once occurred to me that it could be him or someone I know. Most of us in the Philippines have friends and loved ones abroad so it could still work.
  • If you reply, the texter will either ask you for load or ask you to buy prepaid cards which he/she will supposedly sell for you at a big profit. Remember, he/she is posing as someone you know and is expecting your trust.

Anyways, next time you receive a text message from an unknown number, be extra careful.

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