I had just turned on my computer this morning when our house helper excitedly came up to my study to ask me to please call and talk to someone because she had just won 950,000 in some draw according to a message she received on her cell phone. I told her at once that it was a scam but she was starry-eyed so I took a look at the message.
Congratulations! Your SIM number have won 950,00 pesos through electronic raffle draw from Binay Charity Foundation with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “Handog Pangkabuhayan.” Please call me. I’m Atty. Ricardo L. Gozon from BSP Info Dept. Per DTI #3920 Series of 2010.
To show our house helper that I wasn’t just dismissing her “good fortune”, I called up the number. The number is 09212818715. I introduced myself, a lawyer, and the man at the other end of the line immediately became speechless. The silence got too long and I said, “O, hindi ka na makasagot d’yan (So, you’re not giving me answers)…”
“Sino na nga kayo (Who are you again)?”
“I already told who I am. Atty. Connie Veneracion.”
“Hindi kayo may-ari ng SIM na yan (You’re not the owner of the SIM).”
Hmmm… it’s a pre-paid SIM so there is no registered owner. Apparently, our house helper had already called him up earlier, couldn’t understand what he was asking and that was why she asked me to talk to him.
“Ako ang may ari; ipinagagamit ko lang sa iba itong telepono (I am the owner; I just allow others to use the phone).”
“So nanghuhuli kayo, ganun (So you’re trying to catch me, right)?”
“Ah, so yun ang sagot mo… okay, ire-report na kita pati yang number mo sa DTI (So that’s your answer… I’m going to report you now and your number to the DTI).”
This Binay Charity Foundation scam has been around since 2008. I’ve played with scammers before to get information. I’d call just to make them pee in their pants. I’d ask what I had to do. In some cases, all they asked for was pasa-load. The more brazen ones asked for a deposit of tens of thousands of pesos to a certain bank account. I’d just let them drone on and on. Then, I’d drop the bomb. I’d start talking in legal terms, in a very threatening voice and tell them I had a trace on their phone and I knew exactly where they were. And I would imagine the dismayed look on their faces. It was fun for a while.
So, this Binay Charity Foundation SIM card electronic raffle draw is at least a two-year-old scam. Yet, people are still falling for it. Our house helper almost did just now. How can they, right? Well, who doesn’t like the idea of manna from heaven falling on one’s lap when one least expects it? And that is what it sounds like exactly especially for someone (like our house helper) who has been a cell phone owner for less than two months. This is still something new to her. I am only glad that she asked me to intervene before she decided to follow the scammer’s instructions.
When Gloria Arroyo was president there was a PGMA Charity Foundation version of this scam? I’m already anticipating the P-Noy Charity Foundation version.