“Lucky Winner” Scam

We’ve discussed some scams that have victimized, and will probably victimize more, of our fellow Filipinos, even non-Filipinos. These scams include Ponzi and pyramiding schemes, various internet scams, and different variations of Nigerian scams. It appears that certain scams are evolving, while new scams are created with each passing day. Just today, we received this email from Brian:

I have just received a text message from the DTI stating that my SIM number has won Php780,000.00 second prize in a Philippines charity.  The sender’s name is: xxxx (Auditor of Philippines Charity Foundation DTI 1548).

The sender’s cell number is: 0926xxxxxxx.

Is this a scam in the name of the DTI?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. The scheme described in the email of Brian most certainly looks like a scam. In fact, yesterday, we came across  Sec. Ignacio Bunye’s article, which reads in part:

WHAT would you do if you receive a text or email message saying you won a million pesos in a megabuck raffle you did not join? You can do one of two things. Discard the message. Or, better still, report the matter to the Anti-Money Laundering Council. Under no instance should you give out any personal information and fall for this scam as others have found out too late.

Perhaps a downside to global connectivity is that the scammers have been able to export their misdeeds, as several overseas Filipinos have reportedly received these deceitful text/email messages.

Text or email scammers do their dirty work by telling a prospective victim that he has won the jackpot of a raffle sponsored by a certain institution. Among the names of institutions abused in this shenanigan are the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

The imaginary prize may be cash or a high value item like a brand new car.

The message usually includes the name of a contact person who would claim to be an attorney. When contacted, the phony lawyer would instruct the supposed winner to deposit money in a bank account or to send cash through a remittance company. Often, the con artists would also require a victim to send prepaid load.

The victim is led to believe that the money will be used to pay for certain charges which is the prerequisite for claiming the alleged prize. Once the crooks receive the cash or the prepaid load, that’s the last time the victim hears from them.

There are similar scams, including one that attempted to swindle OFWs. Everybody should be careful in dealing with someone who promises immediate financial gain. As they say, if it’s too good to be true, it’s most likely a duck, er, scam.

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