Poor William Patey! First, an e-mail supposedly from him, with his identification card attached, was sent out offering a 20 percent “share of $9.7 million he allegedly made in an oil deal with Iraqis.” (The British embassy confirmed there was indeed a retired diplomat by that name.)
And now, probably because people did not take seriously the e-mail from the live Patey, a new e-mail has “killed” him.
In the e-mail, a Douglas Alexander, who claims to be a lawyer, is offering to share the wealth of his deceased client, “Sir William Patey.” Alexander is asking the recipient to agree to be presented as Patey’s next of kin so together they can claim the deceased’s estate.
What is even more bizarre is the reader who forwarded the e-mail to me wanted to know if she should take it seriously.
I have these questions for her and others who may be considering responding to this and similar offers: Will people you know, including family and friends, be willing to give you such a large share of whatever good fortune comes their way?
If you cannot rely on those you already know to be so generous, why would you believe that a complete stranger, who randomly picked you from out of the world’s seven billion people, would be willing to share all this money? And will it be that easy for the court to believe you are the deceased’s long-lost relative?
The reader also asked how scams like these could be stopped. Well, the best way is for recipients to ignore the offers. When scam artists no longer make money out of this hoax, they will voluntarily stop.
This reminds me of a woman who tried to buy an iPhone advertised online. I do not know what the original price was, but it must have been quite low compared to the actual cost that she found it irresistible. But she should have smelled a rat when she was asked, after giving the initial amount required, to make another payment without even getting a glimpse of the product.
She did realize she had been had and contacted the police when the sellers asked for a third payment. By then, however, she had already lost about P10,000 to the con men.
There are many good buys available online, but people should be extra careful and vigilant because they are usually dealing with strangers. Very low prices should ring alarm bells. At the very least, they are probably stolen or acquired through dishonest means.
Citibank cardholders in areas most seriously affected by the recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake can focus on rebuilding their lives and not worry about their bills for up to 30 days.
Citi Philippines said it would offer payment relief to credit cardholders, as well as clients with personal loans, “that were displaced by the recent earthquake that hit Central Visayas.” Earthquake victims could avail themselves of waived fees and payment holiday.
Batara Sianturi, Citi Philippines chief executive officer, said the move was intended to ensure continued access to credit for affected customers. “Through this program, we hope to give our clients time to settle their card bill or loan account and enjoy continued access to credit, which should be very useful to them in their current situation,” he said.
According to the Citi announcement, “Qualified cardholders and personal loan customers will be entitled to an extra 30 days to settle their outstanding balances from their most recent payment due date. Late payment charges will be waived and interest charges may be waived on a case-by-case basis.” Call the 24-hour CitiPhone at 9959999 for details and questions.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]