Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beware of this Text Scam!



My officemate woke up yesterday being bothered at first but became excited by a text message from a certain Joe Aquino with the number +639063689056. The message reads:

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your # WON TOYOTA AVANZA w/ 300thou via electronic last Jan. 5, 2009. For details, please call now Joe Aquino of Phil. Com. Center on this no. +639063689056.

She then called up the guy regarding the text message and that certain Joe Aquino who introduced himself as an executive of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), told her that her Globe number won the car plus cash. The conversation thrilled my officemate. Then she was asked to contact a certain Rose Valenzuela who introduced herself as a company Vice-President (09096140222) from Cebu where the company that raffled the prize is based. When the certain Rose was called up, she expressed that their company is just new in the Philippines and so they are having a raffle to expand their brand. She said that their company is Black Car International based in Cebu. Then they asked my officemate to send a photocopy of her Valid ID, Cedula, latest Globe billing statement to this address for the processing and claiming of the price:

Rose Valenzuela
Black Car International
#33 Mango Avenue
Cebu City 6000


Seems too good to be true, with the certain Rose speaking in a very fluent English, that is why we advised our officemate to contact the authorities regarding these scammers with the customer service of Globe Telecom confirming that they do not have a raffle promo with this company and quite a number of people have also already reported this same incident. And then, these people started to pursue my officemate and told her she needs to claim her price immediately for it will already lapse on the 60-day claiming period. They furthered that she needs to pay for the insurance of the car for it to be delivered to her though they said that the raffle promo is tax free.

When the thrill already subsided from my officemate and anger already filled her in, these people started to call and text her using many different numbers.

Few points why this scheme is certainly a scam, and the people behind are obviously scammers:

1. They only relayed the message through text instead of sending formal notice. Valid raffle promos send formal notices, using company landline numbers and representatives. Usually, a formal mail notice is sent to the winner’s address or a company representative goes to the home of the winner to notify the person on how to claim the prize.

2. They use many mobile numbers in contacting the person. This is an obvious sign of scamming. People behind this scheme use different mobile numbers so as to avoid detection of authorities when the target victim feels that everything is a hoax.

3. They are not operating alone, and they usually have partners who pose as company executives, but they are in fact fellow conspirators. Just like in the experience of my officemate, they told her to contact another person for the prize to be claimed while at the same time the first person who informed her of her winning is still trying to make follow-ups.

4. They do not present any DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) number for the raffle promo. Raffle promos are sanctioned and monitored by the DTI to protect the consumers from fraud and unjust practices to the disadvantage of patronizing public.

5. They are asking an amount of money in exchange of the price or for the processing of the prize. An authentic raffle promo does not ask any amount from the winner though at times, there are promos that are not tax-free and so, tax obligations are deducted from the total amount won. But in the case of scammers, they are asking an amount from the victim to either deposit in their account, or send through money transfer method, even before the prize is received by the winner. Obviously absurd.

6. They are so eager to pursue the person even making bargains in order to claim the prize and pay some amount. When you win a prize in some raffle promo, you simply just win and take your prize at its face value. In the case of scammers, they try to pursue victims, make situations that as if victims have nothing to do but claim the price like setting time limits and claiming period though they only informed you for only a couple of days. They even try to bargain with you just to get the money.

7. And when you are yet smart enough to know that these schemes are scams and have paid them the amount they are asking, you will just realize that they are, when they would just vanish out of the blue.

I just cannot fathom why are these people scamming their fellow Filipinos and even sounding so educated and professional with their impeccable English?

They try to victimize everyone and in high probability those who are eventually scammed are those who are really having financial difficulties in life. There are so many scams like this and is a sad fact to swallow.

I am asking myself, is the country so poor that these people are scamming everyone and anyone and not try to put into practice those skills that they have by finding a good job and giving dignity to themselves and to hardwork? Or are they just so consumed with greed that they can lower themselves to this level of stupidity, sickness and immorality. Shame on you people!

Now, what to do whenever receiving such kinds of text messages from total strangers out of the blue? I have three options for you guys.

1. Ignore these messages and hit DELETE on your mobile phones.

2. Report to proper authorities for these people to be tracked down and sent to jail to languish for their crimes.

3. Blog about these scams for people to get informed and for the people behind these schemes to be unmasked.

Anyone who have been victimized by these people also? Or any other scams that you know or come across with?


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4 comments:

Jan said...

I have standard replies to text messages of this sort. I cuss them to high heavens, using the richest and most colorful cuss words I can muster.

Alternatively, instead of money they sometimes ask their prospective victims for mobile airtime credits, say P500 or P300. They're giving away thousands, but they don't have mobile airtime credits. Fools.

This scammers are not everywhere, Elmot. Remember Maddox what's-his-name?

Anonymous said...

FYI:

Same case was encountered recently.
Mr. Edwin Ty, called my aunt informing that she won a raffle with same price mentioned above. She tried to call this person for verification which seems very professional on the way they speak, who was asking to bring these necessary requirements including the insurance fee in order for her to claim the price. Thank you for this blog, at least we got aware at it was just a big lie.

elmot said...

@Jan: for sure, you scare the spirit out of the scammers. yup, i agree, the most usual is asking for some mobile air time and more often than not, there are still a good number of our kababayan who fall prey to these scams.

yep, its maddoff (dont know the spelling) maddox i think is the adopted child of brangelina.

maddoff has a twin in the philippines, by the name of celso delos angeles. big time scammers!

elmot said...

@ anonymous: darn, this guys are like chameleons, changing names, targeting new victimes, but the same style; to scam! hope that these guys will be put behind bars.

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