Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Swindlers and Texting

I received a forwarded e-mail from a friend which was about this guys blabbing to kingdom come about his friends almost being swindled by a person pretending to be him.

This struck a high-pitched chord in my cholesterol-coated heart string. This happened to me and my sister.


My sister first e-mailed me at my work account asking if I texted her lately. When I said no, she replied in a heart-beat that she was almost swindled a formidable amount of money by a person pretending to be me. I told her to tell me the WHOLE conversation so that I'd know by the syntax and composition if I knew the person who was using my identity to trick the people I hold dearly.

This was her uber-long e-mail (obviously edited and translated to English so that my non-Filipino fans can understand).


Oh my. It looks like I really am stupid! This was what happened. Last week, I went to Manila because our brother invited me to go out with his family to visit Ocean Park. While there, he asked me why we don't go into business like selling pre-paid cards on-board because 500PHP pre-paid cards sell there for 15USD. Come Monday or Tuesday somebody texted me:

SWNDLER: This is my new roaming number! I got Sim-Blocked! Text me here when you get what I sent! Miss you.

SISTER B (thinking why you were using a Globe number when I know you use Smart roaming): Driedfish?

SWINDLER: Yeah it's me!

SISTER B: You're fabulous! You've already got a great career now you have a great lovelife! It looks like R is OK with mom and dad, they told me he was brought up really well. He came here last week bringing some stuff because he said he just got back from a vacation in Baguio.

And to my surprise. His response wasn't the one I was expecting.

SWINDLER: Oh really? I want to start a business here, I'm looking for a partner .. the ìgoodsî will come from there and I will sell them here.

(Knowing that you'll press on the subject about ìRî, I found it strange that you didn't ask more details.)

SISTER B: And what business is that?

SWINDLER: Loading business! The 500 PHP cards can be sold for 1,500 PHP here.

SISTER B (I suddenly remembered what our brother told me): I only have 10K available, will this do?

SWINDLER: Yeah, that'll do!

SISTER B: Which carrier and denomination?

SWINDLER: Globe and Smart! 500!

SISTER B: OK, I'll e-mail it to your gmail account (thinking that there'll be too many pins to text, and that somebody else might see them in your office e-mail and use the loads up before you sell them to others).

SWINDLER: NO! Text them to me through this number!

SISTER B (Thinking ìAre you nuts?î, but ok, maybe you can't open your gmail or that you really need to sell some cards right away) OK.

SWINDLER (whose reply intervals where getting faster): Buy it now!

SISTER B (replied while one of my eyebrows raised by 12 feet): Are you crazy? I'm still at work. Later when I'm done here.

And when our office closed, I went to the bank to do an OTC and withdrew 10K. My phone went dead, you know my battery has a problem right? Anyways, I bought the pre-paid cards and headed home. When I was on the jeep, I suddenly realized you texted with a lot of exclamations (!), when I know that you are more fond of ellipses (Ö)

(MY NOTE: Yeah I know, it's weird when your sister knows how you form your text messages).

But then again, I was thinking of the 1.5K. Imagine, my 10K will become 30K. And I was planning ahead. I though, ìThis is great, Driedfish will send some money next week to pay for his Philippine-credit-card debts so he'd be able to include the money from the pre-paid card sales with his wire transfer. I'll return the 10K to my bank account, I'll buy some more loads with the 20K, and it'll become 60K. The 30K from that will serve as working capital, while I can put the remaining 30K in the bank for us, split evenly.î

(MY NOTE: You guessed it right, my sister is an accountant and she works for B.I.R.).

While thinking of this, I swear I heard a voice telling me ìThat's not Driedfish!î. I was so nervous I almost ran home.

(MY NOTE: This is saying something as the street that leads to our home is literally in a 45 degree angle, and my sister isn't on the ìSlimî side)

As soon as I got home I asked dad, ìDid Driedfish text you?î

DAD: You know your brother, he doesn't text when he is there, he either e-mails or calls. Come to think of it, he doesn't text when he's here either. He always calls! Just look at how high his Globe bills are!

When our dad said this, I felt all the effort I've put in climbing our road. I sat down and told him what happened. Dad started his litany.

When our Mom heard what was going on, she joined in and they did a duet.

Right then, the phone rang and it was our brother. When our mom told him what happened, he started a sermon on his own while on the speaker phone. So basically, there were three people talking over me and telling me how stupid I was.

Thank goodness Ate Bernie didn't call that time or it'll be too much for me.

While they were talking themselves hoarse, I plugged-in my phone on the socket. As soon as it turned on, guess whose text message I got first? The swindler!

SWINDLER: Were you able to buy it?

This guy is persistent, he texted me the same message like 5 times over the span of one and a half hours of my phone being dead.

SISTER B (after asking Mom, Dad and our brother what to reply): Mom is asking when you're going to send money to pay for your house. She said she wants to join our business.

SWINDLER: That's great! Tell her I'll send the money next week!

So that's it. I didn't reply anymore. But before I went to bed, he sent another message.

SWINDLER: Hey! Why didn't you text back?

The next day:

SWINDLER: Were you able to buy the pre-paid cards already?

SISTER B (trying to make this swindler salivate): Yes. Dad e-mailed you the numbers already because they're too many to text. That's 100 pieces of 500 Globe and 100 pieces of 500 Smart. Mom added some money to our business. (Imagine, that's worth 100K already).

SWINDLER: My e-mail isn't working! Send them through this number! Now!

And we all laughed in our office (I told them everything). My boss even told me it looks like it's fun to play with this guy because she can imagine the swindler shivering with excitement while texting me. The next day, he was obviously getting angry.

SWINDLER: Hey! Reply! Where's the pre-paid card numbers?

I never replied after the 100K thing but he kept texting. At first I found it funny, but later it was irritating the hell out of me. I mean, doesn't this guy realize that I already know his MO?

After some research, I found out that there were other victims here in SBMA. There's even one Manager from Chowking who lost 45K .. in a matter of seconds he transferred 45K via e-wallet thinking it was his best friend.

That's the story of my stupidity Ö

Love you bro!


Well, aside from the entertainment factor of my sister's e-mail, I think that it's important to share this info to people you know who have friends or family who are OFW's.

These predators prey on people who have loved-ones working outside the country (see how he phrased his introductory text? ìThis is my new roaming number! I got Sim-Blocked! Text me here when you get what I sent! Miss you.î).

Please help spread the word by forwarding this post to your friends and family.

And please, don't forget to quote my blog! I mean, hey!, I need the traffic here!

Lots-a-love to y'all!!!! And keep those comments cumin!

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