Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Thursday, March 16, 2006

SMS, e-mail scam case prompts DFA to issue warning

By Alexander Villafania, INQ7.net

An unidentified female overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Hong Kong became the most recent victim of an SMS and e-mail scam prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to issue a warning to against scams specifically targeting OFWs.

A report from the Hong Kong Philippine Consulate said the female victim lost 55,000 pesos to swindlers posing as members of the fictitious “GMA Charity Foundation.”

The victim narrated to the Hong Kong consulate that she received a text message claiming she had won 3 million pesos in an electronic raffle. The scam text message then asked her to call a certain Atty. Alfred D. Macapagal for details on how to claim her prize.

She was instructed to deposit 55,000 pesos, split in two batches, to the Philippines through a Western Union account of a certain Joel Nadera Chavez, allegedly as taxes and fees before she could claim her 3 million pesos.

The victim was again instructed to call up Atty Antonio Uy, the alleged manager of a Western Union branch in Pasay City to get instructions on how to claim her 3 million pesos.

But after depositing the “taxes and fees” of 55,000 pesos, she could no longer contact any of the swindlers.

Philippine Ambassador to the Hague, the Netherlands Romeo Arguelles issued an advisory to Filipinos in the Netherlands about such claims by unscrupulous syndicates.

Ambassador Arguelles said the modus operandi begins with a prospective victim receiving an e-mail informing him that he has won thousands of Euros in an online lottery.

The e-mail instructs the victim to verify his identity by e-mailing or calling an individual who would provide the instructions on how to get the alleged prize money.

If the prospective victim complies he is then advised to keep the winning information undisclosed until the money has been processed and remitted. He is then later advised to pay an amount via money transfer to a given address and is pressured to do so before a “deadline.”

Arguelles identified two fictitious accounts that OFWs should avoid: Saxo Financial Online Bank and Globalum Lottery Promotions.