Internet scam believed to be victimising male expatriates
January 28 2016 12:40 AM
WORD OF CAUTION: Philippine embassy charge d’affaires Gonaranao Musor.
WORD OF CAUTION: Philippine embassy charge d’affaires Gonaranao Musor.

By Joey Aguilar

The Philippine embassy in Doha has warned the public of another Internet scam believed to be victimising mostly male expatriates. In a circular posted online, charge d’affaires Gonaranao Musor said the report came from the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou urging expatriates to refrain from sending money to any person whom they met only on the Internet.
Perpetrators normally use fake Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to dupe their victims.
“We remind the public to be mindful of this kind of Internet scam,” he stressed. “There may be no way of recovering the money.” 
The embassy has earlier advised Filipino expatriates in Qatar to be wary of online scams and other bogus investment schemes. Males usually fall prey from alleged female perpetrators on a dating website who spend months of chatting with them. The woman claims to be working as a private nurse, nanny or household service worker and uses a different picture online, usually an attractive one. Tempted to see the woman in person, the victim invites her to visit him and sends money for all the travel expenses.
According to the report, a specific travel agency is believed to be handling all arrangements for the woman’s itinerary. “On the day of the supposed flight, the woman claims to have suddenly met an accident and hospitalised, or is questioned and detained by immigration authorities for illegal stay, possession of illegal articles, or other reasons,” the report noted.
“A very distressed woman or a more authoritative-sounding travel agent contacts the man to ask him to urgently remit money for assistance or to facilitate release from detention,” it added. “After money is sent, none of the parties can be reached anymore.”
Some members of the Filipino community also told Gulf Times that they were victimised by “pyramiding schemes” which promise huge interests and earnings.
A male expatriate employed at a boutique in Doha said he received at least a 40% interest in just a week from the QR5,000 he invested. 
Enticed by the quick and huge earnings of his hard earned money, he invested more and waited for a week. However, the person who collected his money never returned and may probably left the country. 
The suspect was believed to have duped other nationalities as well, according to embassy officials.
Some perpetrators also use fake Facebook accounts to solicit fees from expatriates in exchange for a loan.

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