Never-say-die con artists | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

A colleague informed me, after reading last week’s column, that SM Mall of Asia has also been handing out plastic cases for customers entering the mall with wet umbrellas. I am sure customers appreciate little conveniences like this.


Another warning


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is warning the public once again against unscrupulous individuals using its name to con people with their money. BSP issued the warning after I forwarded this text message: “Congratulations Ur sim no. had won (P650,000) thru electronic raffle draw frm: (Noynoy Aquino) foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas ‘Pamaskong Handog: 2013!’ to claim ur prize! call me now. i’m Atty. Amado M. Valdez frm. BSP info. DPT Per-DTI #6874 series of 2013.”


Fe M. de la Cruz, director of the corporate affairs office, reiterated that BSP “does not conduct raffles for the public.”


She said, “Text scammers are swindlers. They send prospective victims a congratulatory message saying their mobile number won in an alleged raffle…victims are then persuaded to send money allegedly as a condition for the release of the prize.”


Fe added that these people often claimed to be officers of government agencies or fictitious NGOs and “that the raffle is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.” In the text message I sent her, Fe said the scammer, who introduced himself as a BSP lawyer, used the name of the “dean of a law school who gives free legal advice through media.”


She advised the public once again to “beware of these text scammers and avoid giving them your address, bank account and other personal information.” Those who receive messages supposedly from BSP should contact the financial consumers affairs group, 7087087 and 7087701 loc. 2584 or e-mail


Incidentally, the person who “won” in the BSP raffle was twice “blessed.” Her husband “won” second prize in the GMA Kapuso Foundation raffle. The sender identified himself as “Atty. Randy B. Miranda.” Between the two of them, they “won” a total of P1,430,000.


A legislator has filed a bill requiring the registration of pre-paid SIM (subscriber information module) cards. But the cards are so cheap that con artists dispose of them  as soon as somebody falls for their scams and before they can be identified.


Familiarity breeds…


This is why I write about these scams again and again to keep consumers vigilant. As Fe pointed out, scam artists use names that sound familiar.


Others make their so-called organizations seem like something people know—Philippine Information Council is very close to Philippine Information Agency, for instance.


When you get these messages, take a deep breath, think carefully and, if you can, check with the agency/organization behind the “raffle.” Ask yourself: Did you fill out a raffle coupon? Did you have any dealings with this agency/organization that they would have your number on file? If you have, do you think they will have a list of numbers of all callers/clients as to be able to conduct a raffle? What is the reason for the raffle?


As a government agency, for instance, the BSP will not be giving away money for no reason, or simply because they feel like it. Bureaucracy requires a lot of paperwork. Even for Janet Lim-Napoles’ alleged diversion of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, there was a paper trail. Money was not released simply because people asked for it.


Raffles will not have millions of Filipino mobile phone users automatically participating. There are rules and criteria to limit the number of participants. You have to buy a soft drink, for instance, to join the raffle of a certain beverage.


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