Scam

Share

By Danilo P. Padua, PhD

“ I have not yet informed her nor her other BSU friends about this is because I intended to have this piece written first. I have a feeling that the scammer knows me. I might be totally wrong of course..”

There is so much scam pervading our society now. They are done online or even face to face. Scams are all over and many have been exposed yet, many still fall for them. Victims even include professionals, college-educated people, and of course the less formally-educated ones.
In this piece, I would like to relate a scam and its modus operandi. I hope this will serve a purpose; that is to warn people of this type of scam.
It involves the use of a supposed Facebook account of somebody I know. That of Ms. Charito Ramos, a friend and a former colleague at the Benguet State University. She and her family had already migrated to the land of uncle Sam.
I have not yet informed her nor her other BSU friends about this because I intended to have this piece written first. I have a feeling that the scammer knows me. I might be totally wrong of course.
Ms Ramos is already my friend in Facebook, way back. I was surprised when I got a friend request from a certain Ms Charito Ramos using exactly her FB profile picture. So, I ignored. The request was removed but surfaced again after about 3 days of removal.
Though my doubt is fully in place, curiosity took over. I decided to accept the request to see if there will be subsequent communications of whatever kind. True enough, messages came pouring in. Let me add that my suspicion of scam was already validated by the first message of the scammer. It was so different from how the real Charito writes. It was already a red flag. FB even warned me a few messages later: “Are you sure this is the real person you want to talk to?”
That is what I would like to recount here, printing the messages as they are seen in FB grammatical errors and all. No editing on my part.
By the way, the “new Charito Ramos” FB account was made only late April, 2024 while the REAL account was opened way back in 2009.
See how they do it. It’s a bit long. Here’s the chronology of messages, with some annotations on my part.
Chat with the “new Charito Ramos”, identified as Chat here. Me is myself, Danilo Padua
May 4 (Saturday)
Chat 8:46 am Hello. How are you doing?
3:25 pm. Kumusta
Me: Helo Chat. Mabuti naman ako. Thanks. Kaw kumusta jan sa America?
Chat: Ang galling, nakakatuwang marinig mula sa iyo, napagpasyahan ko lang na tingnan ka para Makita kung kumusta ka. Panatilihing ligtas at malusog palagi ( with smiling and thumbs up emojis)
3:46 pm
Me: Kaw, mukhang hiyang ka jan sa bansa ni Uncle Sam.
Galing ako jan sa Texas nung 2020 bago magpandemic
4.07 pm
Chat: Iyan ay napakahusay, sana ay nakatanggap ka rin ng anumang pera mula sa IDA program na nagpapatuloy din ngayon?
Me: Ano yong IDA?
Chat: Ito ay isang bagong empowerment program na input lamang ng Federal Government sa tulong ng International Development Account at ng United Nations Organization upang tulungan ang lahat ng mamamayan ng lahat ng bansa sa kanilang mga bayarin, buwis at upang matulungan silang mapanatili ang magandang antas ng pamumuhay.
7:58 pm
Chat: Kamusta! Sana nakuha mo ang text message ko?
9:52 pm
Me: Kuha ko message mo. Paano makaavail ng sinabi mo thru IDA
Chat: I will recommend you to the agent that signed me para makontak mo rin siya ngayon okay
Me: Ok, maraming salamat. Ibig sabihin enrolled ka sa program na yon for quite sometime already?
Chat: (she sent me the web page of a certain Atty Samuel Lauretta complete with a symbol of justice which is a balance beam)
Me: Got it. Thanks. Nasa U.S. ba si Atty Lauretta?
Chat (In response to my query that she is already registered with the program): Oo, nakakuha na ako ng pera mula sa kanila..kaya nirecommend ko sau para mabigyan mo din ng pagsubok at naniniwala ako na makakabuti din ito sayo.
Then she added (in response to my last question): Siya ay mula sa California
Me: I believe on that. Ano ba ang dapat kong i-communicate kay Atty initially?
Chat: just send your friends request for him by introducing yourself na gusto mo din mag-apply for their ongoing program too he will respond to you once he got your message ok.. and make sure you let him know that I was the one who recommend you okay
Me: Copy. Thanks much
Chat: You’re welcome, God bless
May 5
10:37 pm
Me: Atty Lauretta accepted my friend request. I already messaged him abt my interest to join the empowerment program thru IDA. I told him that it was you who recommended to me to contact you.
11:11/ pm
Chat: That’s sound great..Just follow all as he instructed you, he’s going to enlighten you more about everything okay..I wish you best of luck
11:36/ pm
Me: salamat uli sa pag-introduce sa akin tungkol sa Grant Program
Nagsubmit na ako ng mga information na hinihingi ni Atty L. para sa program
Chat:No problem about that, just hope everything will be alright okay..All glory to God
May 6
9:34/pm
Chat: Kamusta! how is everything between you and the agent now..my expectation is they should have been delivered your grant by now?
May 7
12:16/am
Chat: Kamusta! tumawag ka ba nakuha ko ang notification mo?
5:29/am
Me: Helo Chat. Yes, tumatawag ako kagabi (dito). Wala pa ako natanggap
Nakafill-up na ako ng form na na-forward ni Atty Sam sa kin. Ano ba ang expected na babayaran ko para maka-avail sa Grant?
8:21/am
Chat: Maganda yan, once na qualified ka babayaran mo lang ang delivery fee mo at ihahatid nila ang grant mo pagkatapos mong magbayad kaya wala na ulit.
8:49/am
Me: May idea ka ba kung magkano babayaran ko? Btw, nasa US ka na ba nung nakakuha ka ng grant?
2:37/pm
Chat: Oo! and depende yan sa amount na pipiliin mo sa list nila bago mo malaman kung magkano ang babayaran mo okay..pero i promise wala kang problema kay atty just have the faith okay
5:29/
Me: Hi, Chat. I trust Atty Sam. Am trying to message him but it says, “couldnt send”
11:10pm
Chat: Okay Parang nakikipag-ugnayan ka kay Atty at hindi siya available ngayon. Ngunit binanggit niya na maaari siyang magtrabaho mula sa bahay upang matulungan ka sa iyong programa at tiyaking mabilis mong matatanggap ang iyong grant. Ibinigay niya ang kanyang WhatsApp number at Gmail, kaya kung bubuksan mo ang WhatsApp sa iyong telepono, maibibigay ko kaagad ang kanyang text number
11:28/pm
Me: Thanks. Tomorow, I will do my best to install/open WhatsApp in my phone o kaya sa laptop
Chat: Ok no problem about that, I wish you could understand this better..para malaman mo yung sinasabi ko okay
Chat:[she sent me the WhatsApp account of Atty Lauretta]
Me: Thanks. I-download ko yan. Ano oras ngayon sa California?[actually I already have myWhatsApp in my phone as I used it to communicate with some people from the U.S. The phone number of Atty L also appeared, and it is definitely a local number]
Chat:Kapag nakipag-ugnayan ka sa kanya, ipaalam lamang sa kanya na ibinahagi ko ang kanyang pakikipag-ugnay sa iyo at magpatuloy sa iyong programa okay. Tutulungan ka niya
Portion of my Chat with Atty Lauretta (identified as Atty L.)
May 5
10:43pm
Atty L: Hello………This is Attorney Samuel Lauretta, Attorney in charge of the on going Grant Program……….Who referred you, How do you get my private text number And if i can ask how may I help you?
Me: Good day Atty. Ms Charito Ramos referred you to me. She gave me your contact acct. Could you please advise me on how to join your Grant Program? I am from the Philippines
Atty L.: WELCOME TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES GRANTS PROGRAM (DHHS)….. I’M ATTY LAURETTA! This is a new program specifically placed for those who need assistance paying for bills, buying a home, starting their own business, education purpose or even helping raise their children including taking care of the old and retired people. The best part is that you don’t have to pay it back. We offer more than $1.5 Billion each year to help millions of people improve their lives and the standard of living. All you have to do is to apply and you may stand a chance of been award a disability DHHS. The Federal DHHS grant community is proud to stand as community’s resource for information about charitable giving and community needs. We encourage, support and facilitate meaningful dialogue on issues affecting each of our communities and work with philanthropists to develop creative solutions to meet critical community need, So are you really here to apply now. If yes, Reply with a capital YES.
Me: YES
Atty L.: Below is grant application information You will have to fill out now [I filled out the form and sent it to him]
Congratulation to you …. We have verify your information and it shows that you are eligible and qualify to receive the grant. these are your references number (grant) reference number: 8776594/DHHS batch number: 18506640602/DHHS application number: 88930IFC-0753465657000US serial number: 7776562016. keep it safe as you will be asked to provide it when your grant safety box is brought to your doorstep. You have to keep your information safe, don’t show your information to anyone so that they will not used your information to claim your winnings from us and don’t tell anyone about your grant right now until you get your money delivered to you okay for security purpose. Hope you understand Sir?
Me: Copy sir. This will be a big, big help to me and my wife. Thanks so much Atty Lauretta
Atty L.: Note! Since your program has been approved already. Do not share your program or your reference number with anyone else until you receive your grant package. This is for personal safety, so anyone else will not be able claim your winnings grant. Keep this to yourself till delivery day. Hope you understand Sir?
Me: Yes sir. Thanks again
Atty L.: Here is the list of amount you are qualified for: $25,000.00 delivery few $1000.00 $50,000.00 delivery fee $2000.00 $75,000.00 delivery fee $3000.00 $100,000.00 delivery fee $4000.00 $125,000.00 delivery fee $5000.00 $175,000.00 delivery fee $7000.00 $200,000.00 delivery fee $8,000.00 $250,000.00 delivery fee $10,000.00 $300,000.00 delivery fee $12,000.00 $375,000.00 delivery fee $15,000.00 $450,000.00 delivery fee $18,000.00 $500,000.00 delivery fee $20,000.00 Kindly choose wisely and get back to us as soon as possible Sir.
May 6
12:12/am
Me: Some questions sir. 1.Shall I be choosing only one? 2. Delivery fee is to be paid in US dollar? 3. Since the fees are big, can they just be deducted from the Grant? 4. When can we possibly get the grant
AttyL.:
Your payment is in Pesos sir. And it can’t be deducted from your choice Sir.
Your grant will be getting deliver to your home address after 48 hours we confirm your payment Sir
Me: Noted sir. I will discuss this with my wife and see how we could raise the needed amount. Will inform you accordingly.
[When I asked where we will send the delivery fee, he told me that he will give me the name of the available cashier when I am ready to send the money].
“Charito Ramos” and Atty Lauretta are still messaging me up to Friday, May 10, 2025. I will block them off in a day’s time. Of course, I didn’t send any money.**


Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eight − three =