I’ve Been Scammed! – Life in the Philippines

I Dropped My Guard!

Just when you finish bragging on the honest and friendly people who surround you in your everyday life, someone finds a way to get your money! I’m not blaming anyone in my inner circles, nor am I blaming anybody from my area or my city. I don’t know who did it, but somebody discovered a way to extract P300 pesos from my wallet. It could have been somebody from Nigeria for all I know.

A New Data Plan

Our day started early as the wife and I headed into town to beat the crowd to the local Globe office which opens at 9am. We were the first ones there and got right to business with a customer service rep. I was there to question why my last month’s bill escalated from the normal P1,500 p/month to just over P1,900. Several months ago, I switched from a pre-paid internet account to a post-paid account, only because I was told by the good folks at Globe that I could expect better bandwidth with a more liberal data usage plan with a post-paid accounts. At least they provided me with half of the information I would need to make the decision. What they did not tell me was that with post-paid services, I no longer was able to send SMS messages to cell phones from my computer for free. Also did they not tell me that I would accumulate additional charges that would be billed on top of my normal monthly plan charges, for other services used. They did inform me that with my new P999 GoSurf plan, I could exceed the plan’s specified data usage and would be charged accordingly up to a maximum of P1,500 for the month. At that point I would be in an unlimited data capacity mode. What they did not further explain was that  once I exceeded my original plan data limits, my speed would be capped. So I made the semi-informed decision to switch to the post-paid account thinking it would be better. Because I upload a lot of video to YouTube, I get to my cap rather quickly and the rest of the month I hang out with the turtles.

Phone Phishing!

What I also just learned is that while I am charged for services and usage in arrears, the opportunity for scammers comes with this post-paid account status. Now, not only do I get charged for the services I use, I can be subject to paying for services that others scam from my account. For example, last month I received a text message that read as follows: “I’m sorry for this inconvenience to you, but I was trying to  transfer a load to my grandson in the amount of P300.00 and sent it to your number by mistake. Could you please be kind enough to return transfer my load back. Thank you for your kind consideration and again, I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

Before I could react or respond to this poor Lola’s mishap, I reached out to my 17 year-old niece for advice. I explained to her what happened and she readily responded “It’s okay uncle, it happens sometimes. She probably just typed the wrong number.”  So with the reassurance of my witty and bright niece (the high school student scholar to be), I felt sorry for the apologetic Lola and transferred the P300 back to her number. Oopps.

Yet another text scam!

Yet another text scam!

I’m guessing at this point, this scam is self-concluding. When I confronted the extra P400 worth of charges on my billing, the Globe rep scoured her computer billing screens and finally offered up her diagnosis: “Sir, you had a P300 load transfer plus the fee for that, and additional text message charges.”  And now, I really don’t have to explain anything else beyond this point, do I?  Because I avail of post-paid services, I can rack-up all kinds of charges that will be billed to me at the end of the month. And now I know that I can be scammed as well… I think most of my readers know how this type of scam always plays out – Fool me once, your bad. Fool me twice, I’m an idiot!  Well nice Lola, guess what!  Better find yourself another phishing hole!  And if I was really vindictive, I would take it out of my nieces allowance… but I’m a nice guy!

Did you know there is a facebook page dedicated to  “Philippines Text Scams?”  Check it out!

Also, if you are a Globe/TM customer and you are being scammed, you can report it here… GLOBE Spam Report