Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scams 101: New SMS scam uncovered

Recently, my mom received a text message from a certain person who identified herself as Emma. She's telling my mother that they have met the night before in the province. She added that she was the one selling beauty products together with another person whom she named. My mother knows the other person by acquaintance. My mom got a little worried because she was already in Manila the night the person claimed they met.

Since the person whom identified herself as Emma told that she was currently at our place in the province, my mother called my father and asked if there are any guest in the house as of the moment. He said there's no one looking for her during that time. Relieved, she replied to her mysterious textmate and told her that she might have sent the message to a wrong number given by a common acquaintance. Emma never texted back again. Turns out it might be a wrong message sent.

What happened to my mom reminds me of a similar incident last Saturday, August 15. We were on our way out of the office with my team mates when I received a text message. Here's the exact message I got and I will include the number so that you can identify this scammer:

"Muzta n kau dyan sa pinas, miz n miz ko n kyo, e2 nga pla bgo k roaming, nga pla my pa2dla me dyan package mga gmit e2, ingat nlng kau palagi, miz u ol, god bles, nga pala paload muna ng 300 pnta2wg lang aq ng agency q ngkaproblma daw un pastfort q.importnti lng, d2 s # n2. 300 tnx,"


At first I thought it was a relative that is currently residing abroad just saying hi and giving her new roaming number. And it was really nice of them to send a package (I hope it's a gaming console they haven't used). The most touching part is they miss all the relatives in the Philippines. But wait, here's the catchy part, they need a prepaid card worth 300 PHP so that they can call the agency because they have some issues with their passport.

Well what do you know? If my common (spider) sense did not trigger immediately, I would have already sent this number a 300 peso electronic load. I will be able to do so with my own load wallet.

But as you can see, not all people can make sense after receiving a text message like this. One of the reaction they will make is since their "relative" will be sending some package to them, 300 pesos is just a small price compared to the appliances and imported goods that they will "receive" later.

Some of you would not believe that some people fall for this lame act. But some people fall for this because this kind of text messages will not propagate if they understand what it really meant.

So here are some tips I can share to avoid losing 300 bucks to this losers:

  1. Do not reply to messages from unregistered number. If they really need to talk to you, they will send another message.
  2. If you cannot avoid yourself from replying, ask the sender to identify themselves. The following replies can be used:
  3. If they identify themselves with a name you do not know or heard of, ask more information about them. If they identify themselves as a common friend of the classmate, relative of the colleague from a previous work place, with description which is higher than the third degree of your connection in your Friendster or Facebook profile, this is either a stalker or a scammer.
  4. If you are not satisfied with the information they are giving and instead luring you to give details about you, this is the time you should stop communicating with them.
  5. As a follow-up to tip number 4, never identify yourself to them. This will give them an opportunity to lure you into giving up more information that they might be able to use to extort from you.
  6. Kindly inform other people you know who is gullible withis type of messages. This way they will identify this "modus operandi" and will be aware of it. This lessens the chance of the culprit to fool other people.
  7. You can also check other people if they know the number being used. There's a possibility that someone you know or somebody might know who is doing this act to you.

If you have other tips you can share you can add it on the comments section. These small things will be able to thwart the evil deeds of small time thief.

By the way I did reply to that text message I received last Saturday. I thanked for the package they will send and gave her the load:

"Salamat sa ipapadala mong package! Okay naman kami dito sa Pilipinas! Nakakaraos kahit papaano. Eto na nga pala yung PIN ng load na hinihingi mo - ##############. Pakiscratch na lang ng coin para magamit mo. LOL!


1 comment: