Report scams now! While more and more Filipinos fall prey to different forms of scams, many still underestimate the gravity of filing formal reports to the proper authorities. Others seem contented, or maybe in an ignorant and stupid resolve, simply sharing their plights and complaints through Facebook comment sections. That’s another big problem!
Scams are rip-offs, or fraudulent schemes performed by dishonest or deceitful individuals, groups, or companies in an attempt to solicit and obtain money or something else in value. Scammers usually employ confidence tricks where they misrepresent themselves as authority figures such as lawyers, investors, bank representatives, and others. Here are the common warning signs or red flags of scams:
6 Warning Signs (Red Flags) of Scams
Before you report scams and other suspicious business and investment transactions to our local authorities, do a little research first on warning signs or red flags already observed and experienced. However, if you have made money transfers and been already scammed as what you feel and believe, verify the legitimacy and legality of the other party and seek help right away.
1| You receive investment and other business proposals through unsolicited email and SMS messages. Mostly, these unsolicited emails are received from suspicious email domains or from free email providers such as Yahoo or Gmail. While you’re being addressed with generic expressions, grammatical and typographical errors are also evident throughout their messages. Might as well, many scammers do not have registered landline numbers; hence, they contact you by mobile phones.
2| You’re asked to provide your sensitive information such as credit card and bank account numbers, login passwords, and others. Your bank doesn’t and should never ask for your account login credentials, but scammers do. If email requests come from your bank because of the seemingly reliable source address, don’t provide your information right away. Better make a call first or visit your servicing branch.
3| You’re guaranteed investment profits and extremely fast transactions which are too good to be true. Scammers promise you surefire investment profits far ahead the existing market rates, but their systems and strategies are ambiguous and obscure. Others even ask you to make money transfers first before you even submit necessary documents.
4| You’re pressured that if you don’t grab the offer now, you’ll lose the opportunity. When you’re demanded to invest what you have in your savings or pocket, as in on the spot, then should you have a second thought. It’s a scam! Legit investments require full understanding and informed decisions, and all legit agents believe that you need more time to think about them.
5| You’re asked to pay upfront fees for their services. If they’re legit then they should be collecting service or processing fees right at the completion of your transactions, or most likely, no fees at all. Equally obvious, you’re not even issued BIR official receipts after settlement, while others simply ask you to deposit payments casually to their bank accounts.
6| You make transactions with them somewhere else, not in their office. You’re asked to meet them at the mall or fast-food restaurant because they don’t have any physical address. They don’t have any decent office, and their business registration cannot be verified with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In other words, they run fly-by-night business operations. Search Google for more red flags.
Investment Scam Checklist (Securities and Exchange Commission)
As per the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), if you come across any investment offer by phone, email, flyers, newspaper ads, or directly by any person or by any other means, and promising earnings or profits which are too good to be true, you must get the following information:
- Name of the Person and the Company Making the Offer
- Address of Both the Person and the Company
- Phone Number (Do not accept cellular phone number)
- SEC Registration as an Investment Taker. Be reminded that SEC company registration alone does not grant authority to sell investment instruments. Only investment houses and financing companies with QB (quasi-banking) license and with SEC registered securities may offer to sell investment instruments to more than 19 investors. Only SEC registered persons such as brokers, dealers, and salesmen may offer and sell SEC registered securities to the public.
SEC also advises that you do not deal with them if:
- They are unwilling to give any of the information mentioned.
- They do not have SEC registration or appropriate license to engage in the selling of investment instruments.
- They fail to give additional information such as number of investors, minimum placement, rate of return, and others, and not listed on the SEC official website.
Lastly, you can prevent these scammers from making more victims by:
- Reporting to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (02) 584-6337; and,
- Seeking NBI or police assistance in case of emergency situations.
How and Where to Report Scams in the Philippines
You better report scams to local authorities right away instead of seeking help and advice from support groups on social media. Yes, you may receive words of sympathy for your misfortune, but not the legal actions that you need.
In the Philippines, we have various government agencies and authorities that you can reach out to for specific cases of scams. You can always make a call through their hotline numbers, send email messages, or still the best, visit their offices. While I haven’t tried to report scams because I haven’t experienced one, I rest assured that these agencies can help you. You just have to cooperate.
1071 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila,
www.insurance.gov.ph | email@example.com
523-8461 (to 70) | Local 111, 130
You may report scams and bogus solicitations related to life and non-life insurance, mutual benefits, and trusts for charitable purposes.
Department of Trade and Industry
385 Industry and Investments Bldg., Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
www.dti.gov.ph | firstname.lastname@example.org
(+632) 751-0384 (Trunk Line) | (+632) 975-7965 (Complaints)
You may report scams and verify suspicious transactions (sole proprietors) such as pyramiding, deceptive or false advertising, unfair business practices, selling of substandard products, and unfair packaging of goods.
Securities and Exchange Commission
Secretariat Building, PICC Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
www.sec.gov.ph | Enforcement and Investor Protection Department
818-0921 (Trunk Line) | 818-5704 (Hotline)
You may report scams in almost all forms (corporations and other business organizations) from pre-need and insurance scams to investment and pyramiding. You may also verify whether they do have the license to sell investment instruments or solicit funds.
Public Attorney’s Office
4th & 5th Floors DOJ Agencies Building, Diliman, Quezon City
www.pao.gov.ph | email@example.com
(02) 929-9436 (Hotline) | Local 106, 107, 159
You may report scams and seek legal assistance especially if you belong to the oppressed, marginalized, and underprivileged Filipinos who cannot afford legal services.
Philippine National Police
Anti-Cybercrime Group Building, Camp Crame, Quezon City
www.pnpacg.ph | Anti-Cybercrime Group
+63 (02) 414-1560 | 09985988116 (Hotline)
You may report scams such as those related to online buying and selling, paluwagan, investment, pyramid, and other forms of online fraud. You may also seek the help of our local law enforcement authorities for criminal cases and others that require immediate and appropriate actions.
National Bureau of Investigation
NBI Building, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila
www.nbi.gov.ph | firstname.lastname@example.org
(+632) 532-8231 to 532-8238
You may also report scams, fraudulent and suspicious transactions, and other related criminal cases to the National Bureau of Investigation.
If you have experiences, and you’ve already tried to report scams to these government agencies and other local authorities, please share them through the comment section below so our fellow kababayans get our guidance through the proper reporting channels and processes. Don’t wait others become victims as well. Report scams now!