The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warned the public anew against swindlers who dangle easy and enticing rewards in exchange for a fee, following the death of a teenager who suffered from a heart attack allegedly after being duped into paying a large amount of money by a text scammer earlier this month.
“If it’s too good to be true, please ask the Department of Trade and Industry,” said DTI 7 director Aster Caberte on Thursday.
According to Caberte, the DTI can verify the legitimacy of rewards and the companies who offer them even if they are not based in Bohol or the region.
“Please ask kung rehistrado ba. Kung mo ingon na rehistrado sa Cavite or ahang mga probinsyaha, we have a way of checking,” said Caberte.
Caberte, during an interview over station dyRD’s Inyong Alagad program, shared telltale signs that a reward is illegitimate and how to deal with suspected scammers:
- Recall if you have entered a contest which could have earned you reward. If you haven’t, it could be a scam.
- If the prize and circumstances of your win are too good to be true, ask the DTI to verify the legitimacy of the reward and sponsoring company or group.
- Those who insist on immediate payment and say that the reward will soon expire are likely scammers. Rewards can be claimed after at least 60 days up to a year before deemed forfeited.
- Always ask for a landline number and office address of the sponsor company. Ask the DTI if the given company and address are legitimate.
According to Caberte, scammers would likely back off if subjected to questioning and asked to provide concrete information about the reward and their company.
“Kung legitimate business na or company, naa g’yud ny landline number. Duna g’yud na silay office address. And that ends the conversation—mangayo gani ka ana, di nana mo-contact nimo,” said Caberte.
Last week, 19-year-old Camiel Ann Humol of Barangay Sto. Tomas, Trinidad, succumbed to a fatal heart attack after allegedly experiencing extreme stress caused by the loss of money and land through a scam.
The teenager’s mother, Crispina, blames a male scammer, who had duped Camiel into paying him almost P50,000, for her daughter’s death.
The amount was supposedly a fee for her to get the her reward of P700,000.
According to Crispina, her daughter raised money with the help of her grandmother by selling land and cattle and borrowing money from relatives.
Crispina said that Camiel was driven to get the large amount of money to fulfill her dream of finishing her studies and lift their family out of poverty.
Out of fear for losing her family’s land and money, Camiel tried to commit suicide but was stopped by relatives. She was then inconsolable and later rushed to the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City as she had difficulty in breathing on May 28. She died of a heart attack on June 1.
Camiel had a hole in her heart and had been told by physicians not to exert herself too much and avoid feeling too elated or depressed, said Crispina. (A. Doydora)