MANILA (Apr. 23) — In a fashion similar to e-mails sent to thousands of recipients in the U.S. or elsewhere, dubbed as the “Nigerian e-mail” in the late 90s, which informs recipients of available millions of dollars deposited in a Nigerian bank, a new sting has emerged and is now targeting overseas Filipinos.
Text messages are now being sent informing recipients that they have won prizes in raffles.
According to the Philippine Department of Affairs (DFA), a Filipina working in Singapore reported that she received a text message from a certain “Atty. Lorna Ruiz” who informed her that she had won a prize in an electronic raffle.
The OFW was advised to contact a “Ricardo Mendoza” to receive her supposed prize. She was asked to transmit a certain amount via Western Union to an “Elmer Dawang”. After she sent the amount, the person ceased to communicate with her. Attempts by the OFW to contact the person proved futile.
The perpetrators at times represent themselves as legitimate enterprises, such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Trade and Industry and provide fake names for contact purposes.
Those who respond to the text message are asked to transmit money as a requirement prior to receiving their so-called prizes. The money will be used supposedly to pay for taxes or remittance charges. In some cases, they are asked prepaid phone load.
The Cybercrimes Division of the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation investigates cases of text message scams and email fraud.
The DFA strongly advises all Filipinos to be wary of these fraudulent schemes and to not respond to any such text messages to avoid becoming victims of these scams.