WHILE most parts of the world are virtually standing still due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some people were trying to scam vulnerable individuals by hacking their Facebook accounts. They then proceeded to scam their contacts using their cellphones.
I was one of my friend’s contacts that they sent several messages to. Using intimidation, the scammer threatened me that he or she will report an alleged unpaid debt amounting to P7,000 to government agencies.
The initial message goes: “ADVISE ASAP IF LOAN REMAIN UNPAID TODAY WE WILL SEND A DEMAND LETTER IN YOUR MUNICIPALITY TO BLOTTER HER (meaning my friend) INCLUDING YOU SINCE YOU’RE THE CO-MAKER OF THIS PERSON.”
The next message goes: “We have no choice but to post your photo on social media for keeping account unpaid. Update account by paying now! Call 9358427339.”
The third message came and by this time the scammer misspelled a word (decree not degree) indicating that he is not really knowledgeable of the law. “WARNING! ACCORDING TO PRESIDENTIAL DEGREE No. 818 October 22 1975 ARTICLE 315 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE ESTAFA COMMITTED BY MEANS OF BOUNCING MONEY. SMALL CLAIMS.”
One message implied that the sender will report the alleged unpaid debt to the National Bureau of Investigation. An overseas Filipino worker’s greatest fear is being unable to secure an NBI clearance.
My initial reaction was to ignore the messages since I have not made myself a co-maker to anybody, not even to my closest friends. However, after several more messages from the scammer, I decided to reply and told him/her to quit badgering me and if he/she does not stop, I will expose him/her. The messages stopped coming.
I was compelled to report this scam modus so that SunStar readers will be made aware and thus, warn them that such evil schemes exist. Since most Filipinos are at home, those with criminal minds will try to scam us out of our wits.
Instead of doing something productive in this time of uncertainty, these scammers decided to be counterproductive and be a virus themselves to the community. If we have to be philosophical about it, viruses come in many forms.
People who insist to bully the underdog, those involved in illegal drugs and human trafficking, enablers of corrupt practices, politicians who dip their fingers in government coffers for self-gratification and parents who peddle their children in cybersex to pedophiles are viruses of a given society.
We can either choose to be a virus or the cure of the ills of society.