Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, June 16, 2005

OFWs warned of BSP text scam

By Alexander Villafania INQ7.net

THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs has warned overseas Filipino workers and their families (OFW) last Tuesday of a new text scam claiming that the receiver won two million pesos, dropping the names of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and its governor Rafael Buenaventura.
DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Jose Brillantes said the message also asks the receiver to remit 800 US dollars in order to receive the two million-peso prize.

The full text message reads: “Congrats your cell roaming no. won P2 million during the electronic raffle drawn from the Central Bank of the Philippines. Call now Governor Rafael Buenaventura at this number: +639156907234.”

Brillantes said the DFA received a report from Ambassador to Egypt Petronila Garcia, saying that a member of the Philippine Embassy in Egypt received the sham message last June 2.

The “prizewinner, ” Attaché Donnie Fetalino, communications officer of the Philippine Embassy in Egypt, was said to have called the number provided. A male voice instructed Fetalino to remit 800 US dollars through the Cairo branch of Western Union Money Transfer, one of the remittance centers commonly used by OFWs.

The male voice also claimed the transaction could be validated with a certain Antonio Uy, Western Union Philippines president, giving a number to call Uy. Fetalino proceeded to call the number and another male voice confirmed the prize, asking him to remit the 800 US-dollars.

“Uy” said the remittance was necessary to authorize the deduction of service charges involved in transmitting the prize money. Then Fetalino received another text message from “Uy,” with details of a third person who would receive the 800 US dollar remittance.

Suspicious of text messages and calls, the Philippine Embassy in Cairo called the BSP where they confirmed that there was no such raffle.

Undersecretary Brillantes said he has referred the text scam to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the National Telecommunications Commission for investigation.


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