Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Last Late Night Good Night

Good night, Conan. Thanks for 16 years of immature, childish, and arbitrary humour. We loved it. See you in LA.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Phone Scam: Identity Theft in Manila

First, this is not from some floating email-- this happened to me, twice.  I already reported it to one of the banks mentioned and it seems they're not aware of it happening-- they were very appreciative that I reported it to them.  Read this and be warned.

It seems Filipino scammers are getting into identity theft these days.  It begins with your name and phone number-- how they get it, how they got mine, I don't know.  The caller, usually a female, will say you have been pre-approved for a credit card or a loan, and will even explain what you can get (loan amount, interest rates, terms of payment, etc.).  Then they will ask you for information for security purposes, ostensibly to confirm that you are who you say you are.  Here's my experience:

Incident 1: Caller claimed to be from Metrobank Blumentritt branch, said I was pre-approved for a credit card.  I actually have a pending credit card application with Metrobank, so this wasn't a complete surprise to me.  She asked for my birthday, which I gave thinking my card application has been approved.  Then she asked for my mother's maiden name and billing address, which sounded alarm bells in my head.  I told her they should know that information and they can just send the card to my billing address.  She was irritated and asked for my information again, saying that my card will be cancelled if I don't give it to her. I refused and asked for her contact information instead.  She refused, said my card will be cancelled, and hung up.

Incident 2: Caller claimed to be from Citibank Savings Ortigas branch, said I was pre-approved for a car or home loan.  She went on to say that I can borrow from P300k to P2M, low interest, three to 12 years to pay, etc.  She then asked for my credit card number, monthly income, and taxpayer identification number (TIN).  I refused to give the info and lied about my income just to get more information from her.  I got her name and contact info and reported her to Citibank Savings Ortigas-- the real one-- and they were unaware that such a scam was taking place.  I told them to warn their customers because a Citibank customer who is unaware of the scam might have given up the info.  They were very happy I brought this to their attention.

Piece of advice-- never give information to unsolicited callers, even if they claim to be from your bank.  They should know the information they are asking from you, and if you think it might actually be your bank, call them yourself using a publicly listed number and go from there.  

If you get a similar call, get as much information on the caller and report it to the bank concerned (get their number from their official website).  They will be more than happy to know that their name is being used illicitly and will take actions to protect their customers.

Lastly, be careful.  They know your name and telephone number, so they probably know where you live.  Don't let them know you're onto them.  Just ride out the call and don't give any vital information.