Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Art Of Scamming: Philippine Monitoring Company My Arse

"Hi, this is Rose Martinez from Philippine Monitoring Company. May I speak to the owner of this telephone number please?” said a feminine voice on the phone earlier this morning. "No, he's not here. He's at work. Why?" I replied, with a hint of scepticism. “I see. Maybe I’ll just call again later. Thank you for your time.” Or something like that. I can’t clearly recall the last words she said before dropping off the line.

This article was originally posted on my now-gone blog (ImageBurner) on March 03, 2012.  

"The heck was that?" I thought to myself afterwards. Philippine Monitoring Company. Sounds unfamiliar and iffy. Haven’t heard of that before. Hmmm. No one else in the family makes use of the home internet connectivity except me and the phone barely gets picked up daily, so I doubt it’d be directed to someone else.  Was she going to ask me something - like a survey? No, if that was her intention, she wouldn’t have hung up immediately.  It took a few minutes before the conversation completely scaled on my head. F---ing. Scammer.

She Dialed The Wrong Number

With internet research being a fundamental part my job, I’ve grown to instinctively google stuff just to feed my curiosity. I immediately queried “philippine monitoring company” on and the results strengthened my suspicion. It seems that I almost wasted a few minutes of my life in senseless conversation with a con artist.

Google search results for the 'philippine monitoring company' query.

I scanned through the links and read various articles and commentary about the shady marketing tactics of this so-called “company” (who also happens to use other names to identify itself as implied by others). Taking from the experience of some people, if the conversation went through I would have been told that I won some free stuff or cash, would have been given some redemption code, and would have been advised to personally present myself at their office bringing 2 valid IDs with me – just to get bombarded with rip-off presentations and offers that would need me to dish out hard cash.

One commenter pointed out that it’s not a scam and was simply a marketing strategy. The f---?! Yes, it indeed is strategy but obviously a fraudulent marketing scheme.  A buyer will pay for what he knows he would be spending his money on. A winner expects to be awarded of the prize he beforehand was told he would win. A good marketer discloses valid and sufficient information in a way that it benefits both himself and his customer. *sigh*

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe.
- Albert Einstein (German-born American Physicist, 1879-1955)

To The So-Called “Company”

Please stop this practice. It’s doing no good to the country’s progress nor to its people’s lives. A mother who’s about to use her hard-earned money for her daughter’s medical operation. A grandfather who impulsively sells a huge cut of their land just to churn out some cash for his grandson’s tuition. A friend who’s about to lend another some money for travel expenses just to work abroad. These are but a few of the millions of ordinary people striving hard to help themselves and others get through life’s inescapable financial craphole. Then a call from your “company” catches them. They fall prey. Spend money on you instead. You are shattering people’s dreams. Karma is a bitch. If you care about growing your business, save it now while you still can.

Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth. 
- Phaedrus (Roman fabulist, 15-50 B.C.)

To The Authority

You know who you are. You know what you do and what to do. You have the resources to bring this societal cancer down. Please do us a favor and make yourselves deserving of the trust we have given you. I think I need not say more.

When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.
- Pearl S. Buck (American author, 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1892-1973)

To You, Probable Victim

Here are my personal tips on how to avoid getting scammed:

  • Most of these deceitful callers share similar formats of introductory lines. You should at least be able to distinguish real from fraud immediately. Statements like “you’ve just won a...” or “you can claim your free...” should signal suspicion. 
  • Never disclose any information not until you’re sure that the person on the other line is a legit representative of a company that you know. Most valid companies/organizations will not ask for any personal information.  Ask for the name of who the caller wants to talk with. A genuine caller is expected to already have all information (Contact Person’s name, address, etc.) at hand prior to calling and will be able to answer you. A deceptive caller is more likely to ask for the same information instead because he or she is trying to gather it from you. 
  • If the caller doesn’t make his/her intentions clear to you, try to ask for his/her or their company’s contact number and say that you’ll just do a return call later. A fraudulent caller would most likely just drop the call. If at some instance she/he does leave a contact number, you’ll have time to do some research – maybe contact the real legitimate companies the caller said they are affiliated with to confirm his/her statements, or use the internet to search for more information about the said company. 
  • At any case, contact the authority immediately to report these bogus schemes. 

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. 
- Samuel Johnson (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784)

My friend, have you gone through similar experience as well? How did you handle the situation? What did you do about it? You may share your thoughts on the comment section below.

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