October 11, 2015

Overseas Filipino Workers: Beware Of Modus By Scammers On Facebook

Overseas Filipino workers and their relatives and friends back in the Philippines are being warned of a tactic being used by criminals to scam people using the social networking website Facebook. In said tactic, a scammer will create a Facebook profile that is the exact copy of another person's Facebook profile. 

The person with the real Facebook profile should have a relative or friend who lives and works abroad. What the scammer does is use the fake Facebook profile to ask for money from the Filipino working abroad. In order to create the impression that he is real, the scammer copies the photos and posts of the relative/friend living in the Philippines and posts these in the fake profile he created.

The scammer would then message the OFW and ask him to send or wire money. A lot of OFWs have been deceived by these fake profiles and ended up sending money to the scammers. Dozens if not hundreds of OFWs have already lost a lot of their hard-earned savings from these criminals.

Here's a short rundown of how the scam works. For illustration purposes, let's call the scammer Alan and the victim Ben (the OFW). Ben has a family member or a relative in the Philippines named Carlos.

1) Alan creates a fake Facebook profile that copies the photos and posts of Carlos.
2) Alan, posing as Carlos, sends a message to Ben that he needs money and that Ben should wire it immediately or as soon as possible. Naturally, Ben would like to send the money and name it to Carlos. This means Alan has to create an excuse so that Ben would send the money to a different name. Alan could make the excuse that Carlos lost all his valid IDs which means he can't claim the money if wired in his name.
3) Ben wires the money to the name that the fake Carlos provided. Alan picks up the money. And the scam is completed.
The modus is very easy to detect but a lot of OFWs seemed to have fallen for it.

Here are some tips on how to avoid being scammed on Facebook. No, let's just make it into a single tip because this is all you need to protect yourself and your money.

The tip? Always verify everything before you send or wire money back to the Philippines. Check the names. Ask questions. Bluff if you have to. Call the family member or relative if he is indeed in need of money. Use Skype. Or email him. In short, verify everything.

You earned that money. You worked hard for it. It would be a shame if you are to lose it to a lowly scammer on Facebook.