Scams in the Philippines - Pinay Daily Ramblings

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Scams in the Philippines

This is kinda related to my "laglag bala" scam post earlier. Though there are lots of scams around the world, since I am from the Philippines and I am sick and tired of what's going on with this country, let me enumerate the scams here that I've experienced or that I have heard of. I'm not doing this to make my country look bad but something for us Filipinos to reflect on.

1. Laglag Bala Scam

Airport personnel planting bullets on people's luggage. How do we justify this act? Whenever pinoys hear of other kababayans doing some scamming, they automatically blame it on poverty. In this case, is poverty to blame? These airport personnels are earning decent wages (maybe not enough for a super comfy living but decent enough to be able to live).
Let's take an example with airport porters..they earn basic salary plus tips from travelers. I myself give them like 100-200 pesos tip whenever they help me with my luggage. Let's say they helped 20 travelers a day and earns 100 pesos tip per traveler..that's 2,000 pesos worth of tip a day already. Even with just an average of 50 pesos per traveler can earn them 1,000 pesos a day! Why do they need to plant bullets for? Simple. Most are greedy bastards who probably have gambling or womanizing problem or in case of women, they probably like to show off and look sosyal in front of their friends or whatever.

I'm not singling out airport porters. It could be airport security too, or those at the scanner section. They are all earning decent wages and if budgeted properly, they can still survive. They resort to scamming because they are plain greedy and it's easy money for them.

2. Pyramid Scams

Pyramid scam is one of the most common scams in the Philippines. It differs from network marketing. While network marketing is a legitimate form of business wherein members earn from products sold , pyramiding recruits people and charge them a registration fee and then the members are ordered to recruit someone and recoup their investment through the registration fees of their recruits. What if you don't know anyone who is willing to pay that "fee"? Then say goodbye to your investment.
Stay away from these get rich quick schemes and do a lot of research before you invest into something. I know it's common sense. But how come lots of people still get victimized even after much publicized pyramiding scandals all over Philippines? Greed.

3. Online Romance Scam

This mostly targets foreign men and occasional Filipino men living and working abroad. This isn't exclusive to Philippines only. It happens around the world but since this is about Philippines, let me tell you how it works here. 
You've probably been to an internet cafe (they are all over) and have seen Pinays chatting online with foreigners. You'll see some of them with multiple chat windows and all calling them "honey", "babe" etc. These women chat with multiple men, tells them sob stories and get them to send her money. Pretty common scam. And yes, its not just women scamming these poor guys. You will also see transgenders doing it. And heck yeah, some can look pretty convincing (maybe even better looking than some real girls). 
Most of these scammers think that foreign men are rich and scamming them won't really hurt them financially. Just so you know, not all foreigners are rich. Some may even have bigger debts than us. They may earn more than average Filipinos but their cost of living is way more than ours. 
But also, not all Filipinas are into that scam. Only a small percentage does that. Most of us are proud women who likes to be successful career wise and frown on those who does the unthinkable. And no, not everyone are looking for foreign men. 

4. Real Estate Scam

Again, it also happens around the world. (Source:

The Out of the Country Scam

In this common scam, the prospective landlord or current owner says they are out of the country and unable to show you the property before you sign the lease or contract. They usually promise to send you the keys in the mail once the deposit has been paid in advance.

Title Fraud

This type of property fraud can be extremely devastating. Essentially it is a form of identity theft in which the scammer poses as the homeowner and uses fake documents to transfer the property into his or her name. They then get a new mortgage against the property, take the cash for themselves and leave the homeowner liable for the repayments.

Information Brokerage

This is a scam involving two real estate agents colluding to increase their respective commission fee once the property has been bought. An example of this is one agent representing the buyer and another representing the seller. In this setup, the owner and the buyer do not know that they are dealing with two different brokers since they are not introduced. This will create a scenario where there are two agents in-between the transaction and this would result in distorting the value of the property since the commission will be shared by the agents.

This practice is a clear violation of the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for Real Estate Service Practitioners. Buyer and sellers must be able to tap trustworthy brokers who will protect their interests and would not deceive them.

5. Spiked Drinks Scam

Some criminals add knockout or ‘date rape’ drugs (known locally as Ativan) to drinks or food to subdue and rob their victims. It is best not to accept food, drink or rides in private vehicles from strangers, even if they appear legitimate. 

6. Phone scams

This scam mostly targets the local Pinoys with house helpers. 

The perpetrator makes a telephone call usually to a the victim’s home and tells the person answering (usually a member of the domestic staff) that the resident or resident’s guest has been involved in an accident. The caller says the resident or guest is in distress and that money is immediately needed for the urgent medical treatment. (Sometimes the reasons for the immediate need of money vary, e.g. to pay off somebody so the media doesn’t get involved.)

The caller advises the staff member to leave the telephone off the hook, search the house for money or valuables such as jewelry, and take it to a rendezvous point.

Domestic staff should be warned about this type of scam. They should be trained not to comply with such demands and given advice about what to do if called.

As a Filipino, how do we help put a stop to these scams?

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