The continued proliferation of text scams prompted the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to remind the public of red flags to avoid falling prey to theÂ modus operandiÂ of text scammers.
The warning from the NTC Regional Office Vll came out after a foiled attempt to swindle DYRD “Inyong Alagad” anchor Fred Araneta was reported to Engr. Dennis C. Rocamora, Officer in Charge (OIC) of the NTC Bohol Field Office.
“Text messages from eleven digit numbers announcing winners of prizes worth millions of pesos are reekingÂ with fraud” said Atty. Alan Felix J. Macaraya, Jr., OIC, Consumer Welfare and Protection Unit, NTC Vll.
But filing a case in court is the responsibility of the victim and not the NTC since they are not the aggrieved parties, according to Atty. Macaraya.
Rocamora, also told “Inyong Alagad” that messages from three or four digit numbers are legitimate since these promos come from content providers.
Araneta and co-anchor Chito Visarra was starting off the popular public affairs program when a text message sent by a text scammer masquerading as a lawyer informed Araneta of a P75,000 prize for winning a promotion sponsored by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Introducing himself as Atty. Ramon T. Chavez, the text message read “FROM: (BSP) Congrats! Ur sim# had won.2nd prize worth (750,000.) to claim.pls call me now Im ATTY. RAMON T. CHAVEZ, DTI#236s16”
A check from the website of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) showed 48 lawyers with the surname Chavez that included Regional Trial Court Branch 2 Presiding Judge Jennifer L. Chavez-Marcos.
The veteran broadcaster laughed off the message but decided to put one over the fraudster and played the role of the unsuspecting victim to the hilt.
Playing out to a worldwide audience, the drama turned hilarious after Araneta called Chavez and introduced himself as a needy trycycle driver and expressed his gratitude for winning the huge amount.
Unaware that the whole conversation was aired live and taking the bait, Chavez instructed Araneta to text his complete name, address and age including P300 load to his cell phone number 09368578613 after which the P75,000 will be sent thru a money forwarder of Araneta’s choice.
Following the instructions in jest, Araneta sweet talked Chavez to lower the cell phone load to P100 which the scammer agreed which was greeted with howls of laughter as gleaned from the numerous text messages and calls that swamped “Inyong Alagad”.
The top-rated radio program of dyRD purposely pursued the attempt of the text scam author in order for the public to hear how they victimize the public, especially those in the countrysides who are easily convinced of the supposed windfall stated in their text messages,
However, not everyone tuned in found the comical episode of “Inyong Alagad” amusing after recalling their own sad experiences with text scams.
A call from a Boholana from New York urged “Inyong Alagad” to pursue Chavez and put him behind bars.
Romy Bayron, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) employed in Khamis, Saudi Arabia rang up “Inyong Alagad” saying that Chavez has been sending text messages to Filipino workers using the same modus even as the Philippine Embassy warned Filipinos to ignore the text messages.
Globe and Smart, the two major telecommunication companies (Telco’s) in the country has blocked thousands of text scammers, spammers upon the orders from the NTC.
Senator Cynthia Villar, a victim of text scam using the Villar Foundation urged the NTC to push Telco’s to mount a nationwide information drive to warn the public against text scammers.
The BSP also warned the public that they do not sponsor or engage in any games of chance, lottery or raffle in an advisory on May 13, 2015.Â (Chito M. Visarra)