(Opinion) Speaking Out

June 6, 2010 11:47 am 

MANILA, June 6 — We have all heard of horror stories of people being divested of their savings by fraudulent individuals or groups. While we have the law enforcement organizations on our side, it still pays to be careful.

Fraud has been defined as an act, expression, omission or concealment that deceives another to the fraudster’s advantage.

Scams, on the other hand, are deceitful business schemes aimed at misleading, swindling or victimizing a person or group with the goal of financial gain.

For the public’s guidance, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has identified the common types of frauds and scams.

"Text Scams" involve unscrupulous persons who use fictitious names and pretend to be government officials. They send fraudulent text messages to their victims, informing them that their mobile phone numbers won in a raffle allegedly sponsored by a government institution.

A sample text message would look like this:

"CONGRATULATIONS! D’ LAST 7 DIGITS of ur sim# had WON ELECTRONIC JACKPOT PRIZE from PAGCOR PHIL and CENTRAL BANK DTI # 2678 2007 call Atty. Juan de la Cruz."

To claim the prize, intended victims are instructed by the scammers to transmit money through a designated bank account or remittance company to pay for the supposed taxes or remittance fees involved.

In many situations, the scammers also ask their victims to send prepaid cell phone load to the scammers’ prepaid mobile phone number.

"Nigerian Scams" entail e-mails, fax transmittals or letters from a person or group claiming to have access to a very large sum of money.

The scammers promise the victim a hefty percentage of this money in exchange for the use of the latter’s bank account to transfer the funds.

The people behind Nigerian scams then ask the intended victim to furnish them with his bank account information. With this information, the scammers are able to access and draw against the victim’s account.

Through the "Job Scam Online," a prospective victim receives a job offer abroad from someone allegedly representing an agency or an employer.

The "employer" usually demands for a placement fee to be transferred to his account to facilitate the job application process.

Individuals who use "Phishing Scams" send official-looking e-mails from the victim’s bank.

They ask for information such as PIN and account numbers, log-in IDs, passwords and other verifiable information that can be exploited for fraudulent purposes.

Fraudsters specializing in Identity "Theft" obtain the information they need to assume the victim’s identity through theft by going through your trash or getting your credit or bank information.

This personal information gives the fraudster the power to create a financial transaction such as a credit, deposit or other financial account in the victim’s name.

"Credit Card Skimming" involves the unauthorized duplication of a victim’s credit card details. It entails an employee of a shop, such as a restaurant or a gasoline station, putting a credit card into an electronic skimming device which copies the information printed on the card.

This stolen information is then used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards. (Continued next week) (PNA)

LDV/IRB/lgi/jsd

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