Beware of Online Scams


You may think that you are already too sophisticated to become a victim of scams. Well, if there are suckers born every minute, you may find it difficult to keep your guard. No matter how intelligent or educated you may be, there might be one equally intelligent and educated scammer who can make a fool of you and run with your money, or worst, your identity! There are many forms of con or confidence tricks out there and it may take several volumes of books or dissertations to document and classify them all. This blog post will only focus on a few common online scams.

Here are some common online scams that you should be wary about. This list is far from being detailed or comprehensive but it can help you avoid becoming a victim.

1.) Phishing scam -- This scam relies on imitating legitimate websites, complete with logos, forms, graphics and functional applications. You may accidentally stumble-upon this sites as you surf the web or you may receive an email luring you to these sites. Some phishing sites are masking as e-commerce sites, selling some bogus products. However, most phishing sites are clones of popular websites, such as Yahoo.com and Facebook.com. The main purpose of phishing sites is to "fish" or collect information, which may include user names, passwords, credit card numbers, and PIN numbers. You may end up being a victim of identity theft.

2.) Auction fraud -- Unlike phishing scams, most auctions frauds are perpetrated using legitimate auction sites, such as eBay.com, Sulit.com and Bidz.com. You may end up paying for a product that will never be delivered. One way to avoid this type of scam is to use a secured means of payment, such as PayPal.com. The actual transfer of payment can be temporarily held or cancelled if the item that you ordered does not arrive on time. Another way to avoid this scam is to ask for the tracking number of the courier service that is supposed to deliver the package. Most courier companies have online facilities that allow you to track shipments. A reversed scenario can happen if you happen to be the legitimate seller asked to send the item you are selling.

3.) Nigerian 419 Letter -- The name of this scam is derived from the section of the Nigerian Penal Code that this scam violates. Basically, this scam is a bogus money laundering scheme that asks you to be an accomplish. Emails of this scam are sent to prospect random victims. The letters typically start in this manner:


4.) Lottery/Raffle Scam -- This is a type of email scam that is too good to be true. You may have already received an email congratulating you because you have won millions from an online lottery that you never joined. In some versions, the prizes are in the forms of goods, such as computers, Xbox, cameras, iPods, Plasma TV, etc. Would-be victims are asked to pay for the processing fee or shipping cost. Prospective victims will be lured to phishing sites and required to submit their credit card or debit card details.

5.) Freelance Work Scam -- This type of scam commonly victimized those who are desperate and gullible enough to find easy money online. Prospective victims are given freelance tasks that need to be finished within specified period of time. Job offers may include writing, programming, graphic designing, and marketing. Victims are not paid after submitting their works. Some scammers may require "test" works that are unpaid. Another version of this scam is the "data entry" scam that promises lucrative income by simply typing data. Most of these so-called "data entry" opportunities require fees in order for a job-seeker to be given the job.

NOTE: There are actually many legitimate opportunities online. However, you must need to weed-out the bogus ones to avoid becoming a victim.

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Cellular Phones Vs. Wireless Landline Phones


The development and popularity of the mobile cellular phones has made the landline phone almost obsolete. Fewer homes and individuals here in the Philippines can afford a landline phone subscription but many Filipinos can afford and desire to have the latest model of cellular phones. Some Filipinos even save or borrow money from loan sharks just to buy the latest mobile phone model. Some opt for original brands while others prefer cheaper cloned brands, such as the China-made touchscreen phones.

The popularity of cellular phones units is not only because of their affordability and high-tech features. More importantly, mobile phones are widespread because of the convenient and affordable prepaid subscription options. For as low as two pesos, "pasa-load", a mobile phone can already be used to send SMS. For a time, the landline phone companies simply could not compete with the mobile phone service providers.

However, all of these changed with the introduction of the wireless landline phone services. At present, there are two major telephone companies providing wireless landline phone subscriptions. PLDT is the dominant provider of wireless landline services in Metro Manila while Bayantel dominates the provinces with its Bayantel Span phones.

For as low as 499 pesos subscription fee per month, a subscriber can already have a landline with unlimited local calling time. Pre-paid subscriptions are also offered by both PLDT and Bayantel. Both also now have SIM cards for their phone units. The phone units are available in two main designs, namely, the desktop types and the mobile or "cellphone" types. The desktop types can be connected to a computer and used to access the internet but additional fees are required. Typically, additional 12 pesos is charged per "online" hour, prorated down to minutes.

The main advantage of the PLDT wireless landline service is that buying a phone unit is not necessary. You can simply buy a PLDT landline SIM card for 100 pesos and you can use it in any open-line GSM cellular phone. You can also use the SMS features even if you are already outside the coverage area for the "call" services. Just like regular wired landline phones the wireless landline phones are limited to certain areas, usually within a province.

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