They’re Not All Scammers
Ever become dismayed by how readily some make generalised statements about Filipinas. They say things like they are all scammers, don’t trust a Filipina until you have met them and definitely never give money. The reality is while there are undoubtedly scammers, they are a small number among all of the “relationship” activity on the Internet. And while it is a growing number it is not a growing percentage as the number of online relationships is burgeoning. So with confidence, we can say that they ae not all scammers, not even close.
It’s a great shame that the experience of a few becomes the narrative that we use as our baseline for discussion of Filipinos in general and Filipinas specifically.
So it was with great interest that I read of a scam which has been going on for a number of years and has involved dozens if not hundreds of victims in Cebu, Manila and probably anywhere else where aircraft arrive from overseas.
Courtesy of Enquirer Technology
This statement from the Bureau of Immigration’s Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval.
She reissued a warning from 2015 concerning what she called rampant cases of online love scams. The scam goes something like this:
- The scammer acting as a foreign national, befriends and often eventually courts a Filipina they meet online.
- The foreign national even sends small gifts to the Filipina and her family to earn their trust.
- They say they are coming to the Philippines and will be flying into either Manila or Cebu airports
- So the Filipina and her family are very excited, waiting for the foreigner to arrive at the meetup
- The Filipina then receives a call from someone purporting to be from BI, saying the foreigner is in trouble and needs x amount to make it go away.
- She raises the money and sends it by the designated method. She never hears from the foreigner again.
- The supposed foreign national, in reality, is a part of a syndicate.
Sandoval went on to say:
- Immigration officers are not authorized to make the first contact to non-passengers during their tour of duty.
- It is also illegal to demand money from anyone in relation to them entering the country.
- As a rule, the BI only holds custody of arriving foreign nationals in the airport when these foreign nationals are denied entry. If excluded, a foreigner is sent back to his port of origin on the next available outbound flight.
Victims have paid up to 40,000php, thinking their supposed boyfriend will be released into their care, only to find they did not exist, or rather not as a prospective friend, lover or spouse.
BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente expressed his dismay about the ongoing scam. “These fraudulent activities are becoming noticeably numerous, the BI strongly warns the public to be vigilant.
If you are making romantic connections via the internet and planning a meeting with someone from another country be aware of the process outlined above.
Filipinos with expected guests from another country who get in the same situation are advised to know the exact airport location and the flight number of the passenger in order to verify the truthfulness of the claim.
For verification, the public is advised to call the BI’s hotline at (02) 465-2400, or contact the immigration office in the airport involved, the list may be seen on their website www.immigration.gov.ph.
It’s More Than a Story Of Filipinas Getting Scammed
While I commend the Bureau of Immigration for bringing this to light, for the benefit of potential future victims, it also shows that there are many honest and caring Filipinas out there. They go to these great lengths to help someone they haven’t even met in person.
It balances the picture and brings responsibility back into play.
How We Can Add Positively To The Debate
- We can talk about our personal experience of being scammed because that is the only story we know is accurate.
- We can talk about the unwise things we did, that made the scam possible. Every scam story that I and others in this field have come across is usually full of things like:
- Because I was hungover I got her to get money from the ATM for me
- I talked about all my possessions back home and about the amount of travel I was able to do
- I made promises to her and her family that I didn’t keep
- She was with me for three weeks, I thought to look after her was good enough
- We can talk about the red flags we missed because we were naive, or blinded by some emotion
- She only engaged when you gave her things
- She always had a family crisis involving a financial need, you could help with
- My ideal party girl. She only wanted to party 24×7, so did I on holiday
- She always wanted her brother along and every trip and she and he spent more time together than we did
- We can talk about the Filipinas we know that do not scam us. For me that is many. How about you?