Thursday, June 26, 2014

Philippine Prudential Scammers (aren’t who you think)

So I’m on my way home to Marikina when, after getting out of Rustan’s, Gateway and going down the escalator that goes to the FX queue at Aurora Boulevard, a group of corporately dressed individuals (sort of) ganged me up. The initial question they had was “Sir, may credit card ka na ba?” and time and again, they would ask me every time I passed that spot; on this day, however, someone came up to me and said “Sir, may tatanong lang ako, di kita bebentahan” and then asked me about my shirt that had [Malolos Bayan] written all over it. I just answered a couple of questions (some of them got personal), then, at the moment that they asked if I’d be interested in free stuff, I told them that I had to go.

Upon searching mall scams over the internet (because them people piqued my interest), I came across a lot of results regarding budol-budol (a form of modus that uses hypnosis), salisi (attention diverting scam, almost illusory), and healthcare and insurance scams. In the Philippines, scams aren’t such a new thing. A scam story is just like another break up story but instead of losing your jowa, you lose money. Sometimes, though, we fail to see through the scam and who’re actually behind it.

In my search, I found out that the leading name when it came to insurance scams was Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company (PPLIC). I have a friend who works at Philippine Prudential for an entry level post. He says that all Philippine Prudential direct product sales are based on the office. Conclusion? These mall rats might not be direct employees of PPLIC.

PPLIC does NOT give out giveaways to their clients. They would sometimes give contribution rebates, family and group discounts, and extra benefits for premium paying clients but never would they give umbrellas, cars, trip-for-two vacations, or college scholarships unlike what they promise you at malls. Malamang niyan, ang mga ahente sa malls ay 3rd party sales na gumigimik gamit ang freebies para maka benta. I can’t blame ‘em though, sales is hard. Although I can’t say that I should blame PPLIC, too.

Abangan!! Next time, I am out to actually engage these “agents” to see how far they’d go to sell me something. Kayo ba, sa tingin niyo, who can we trust when it comes to Insurance?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Popular Scams in the Philippines

When you say scam, it immediately flags money-taking activities, especially in the Philippines and one of the most victimized institutions of said word is insurance. Because of the stigma of insurance scams in the Philippines, some people are reluctant to avail of insurances albeit they be legitimate and the same stigma goes for medical benefits and financial investing. The three of these are actually the least of your worries when it comes to scams. What you should be looking for though are things like:

Online Scams

The nature of the business itself is prone to abuse of anonymity. The most basic of these scams are those who ask for your credit card information or access to your personal emails and such. These are easy to spot as some of them are either pop-ups or poorly constructed unprofessional looking pages—think about all the times that an add or a pop-up flashes in front of you telling you that you won something.

Other scams may happen when you are dating someone on the internet. Most prone to these are people who appear far from their online-other. Some will use the internet based relationship to ask for care and intimacy through asking for money or financial support but always find a reason to not meet up.

Then there are those who scam through either selling of buying. Sell scammers look almost harmless: they sell items online (OLX, AyosDito, Ebay) for second hand prices, you pay for them, the item gets shipped to you, then, voila! It isn’t what was on the internet. Buy scammers will pretend to buy your stuff online and not pay for them. To ensure that proper payments are made in favor of both buyer and seller, do half deposits to bank account or Western Union instead of through GCash. Better yet, meet up somewhere for the transaction, preferably at a mall where a lot of people (witnesses) can see you two.

Cellphone Scams

These are really, really easy to spot but some people still fall victim to them. One modus of cellphone scammers is to pretend to text as a Filipino OFW who wants to send money or a relative who is in trouble. They converse a little bit and then ask that you send them money either so that they can go back home, for legal transaction purposes, or to get them off the hook.

Others will make calls. This callers target house keep most of the time, claiming to be a friend of their master of the home or the master of the home themselves in need of help because they got into an accident. They ask the house help to bring the money hidden somewhere in the house to a certain location so that it can be used to pay for hospitalization.

Employment Scams

This scam seems to be the one that rakes in the biggest bucks. It could come in many form across any type of institutions but this scam’s definitive characteristic is that, at some given moment, a certain “fee” will be asked from the applicant for whatever intent and purpose it may serve.

There was this one syndicated group in Malolos, Bulacan where they even had an office. They fronted that they did office and secretarial works, mostly paper work, and that should an applicant pass the initial screening, she would surely land a secretarial job in a Manila-based company. They don’t actually fail applicant although, for those who passed, a fee of 300php will be required for the processing of papers. Yes, individually, 300php might not be big but if they’re receiving some 100 applicants per day, that 300 grand a day that goes to thieving hands!

Others will promise showbiz stardom. They will claim to be a talent scout of a popular station’s (ABS-CBN, GMA) and say that the person has what it takes to become an actor or actress. Others go and talk to parents saying that their kid can be part of a show and a commercial. Then, they will show papers and fine print saying that fees have to be paid for workshops and such.

The majority of people who get employ-scammed big time are those who aspire to work abroad. Same thing; scammers pretend to be connected to foreign companies, talk you through the job, then ask a certain amount for clearance and what have you. If you are aspiring to work abroad, make sure that, during application, check with DTI if the company that will send you off abroad is registered and legitimate.