Beware of new load-sharing scam
IF YOU have received the following text message, I hope you have not done what it asks you to do:
“Sir/ma’am ang inyong postpaid plan ay nag-charge ng P300 dahil sa pagtawag ng landline. Baka nais nyo ipa-cancel, itext ang 300 (space) CANCEL send n’yo sa 29055925773 replayan n’yo pong YES ang susunod na message para po sa code na ibig sabihin cancel na ’yung charged n’yo.”
There are red flags that should tell you the message is a scam. For one thing, telecom networks do not make announcements in Taglish. It is either English or Filipino. Also, the message was sent from a regular mobile number. Networks send out legitimate messages using three-digit or four-digit numbers.
If you’re not careful, you’d end up sending P300 worth of phone load to that anonymous number, instead of canceling the alleged erroneous charge.
Marigold Yao-Endriga of Globe Telecom’s external affairs corporate communications office said the word “cancel” in the message is of no consequence. “The system only reads the amount so it still processes the request despite the word ‘cancel,’” she said. Texting “300 29055925773 CANCEL” will send P300 worth of phone load.
Replying YES to a subsequent message from the network will confirm the load transfer.
Endriga added, “To Share-a-Load, the zero in the recipient number is replaced with two. The amount to be transferred is in the body of the message. Once the amount is sent, the customer will receive a confirmation message from Globe. If he/she replies ‘Yes,’ then the amount will be deducted from his/her prepaid load or charged to his/her postpaid account.”
Some colleagues wonder if people who try to pull off these scams are connected with networks. After all, who would know that a word is actually of no consequence when you transfer load to another phone?
Endriga reiterated Globe’s advice to clients: “To help reduce, if not eliminate, text scams, Globe customers are encouraged to report any suspected scam message via the following:
1) Globe website through Talk2Globe Chat (chat.globe.com.ph)
2) Globe Contact Form (www.globe.com.ph/stopspam )
3) Twitter via @Talk2GLOBE.
“Customers can put in the number, the exact message, and the time and date the text scam was received. Such numbers will be immediately disconnected from service once the company gets validation that they are indeed used for such unscrupulous activities.”
Aurora Yabut said somebody also tried on her the scam mentioned in this column two weeks ago. “Somebody texted me pretending to be my son and asked for load, saying he was in an accident and needed to call someone. Buti na lang I had the presence of mind to ask my daughter-in-law to call my son.”
Yabut added that these scammers are so mean “What if the person who received the text message had a heart problem? I was so nervous when I got the text message.”
I do not think scam artists worry that they may cause somebody to suffer a heart attack just to con people of a few hundred pesos. I also suspect that people who send out these messages have some information about their prospective victims. In the case of the two mothers in the earlier column, for instance, how did the message sender know that their children were going out of town, and how did he/she get the parents’ numbers?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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