Being Scammed in a Relationship in the Philippines
Although not many Filipino men are on online dating sites a few are. And they learn quickly from the Filipina’s who swarm the dating site looking for a foreigner to love and hold.
But there is a huge business going on on the female side of dating-land, and someday soon, Filipino men will start this same trick. To lure women looking for romance into a financial scam.
How to know you are being scammed, either online or offline?
Often the contact is made through dating sites, but don’t rule out Facebook (and with them starting a dating app anytime soon, especially Facebook) and even Instagram. Well, all kinds of social media that offer message services are being used to make the initial contact.
I had a guy the other day approaching me through Instagram. He lives a few barangays away and was interested in meeting me. No idea why, he is 25 and I am 57 but he showed a feed of dating white girls, maybe now he wanted a white mummy. No clue. I refused. The way he came on to me was a total red flag. And I ignored and finally blocked him. I mean, be the serious guy: 5 missed messenger calls within 2 minutes? And messaging me all over social media at the same time? How desperate can you be?
Usually, when it involves a well set up a professional scam, it is not that obvious.
The romancer will give you the idea you are the only one in his/her life and talk to you as much as possible to keep you hooked.
You, looking for romance and coming from a first world country, being of a certain age, make the ideal victim. And you have to be on high alert when someone is all over you in your messenger and telling you how much they love you without even meeting you.
Usually, the conversations are filled with words like dear, sweetie and honey.
And while you shower yourself in his attention he is working his ass of satisfying the romantic need of many others.
After the first initial ‘getting to know you’ and sweet-talking to gain your trust and make you feel special the first money signals are given.
And that can be anything from: a have no money for internet honey, I cannot contact you tonight, up till I have a parcel that needs to pass customs and I am short of cash. And believe it or not, you will receive a phone call from a handling service about fees due and a parcel waiting for your internet lover.
The wiser we get in intercepting them and recognizing them the more creative they get in setting up the scam.
How to recognize a scammer?
usually, the picture is amazing, like a real superhero kind of American doctor, scientist, football player or army dude. And believe me, especially the Nigerian romance scammers have awesome pictures. It is almost too good to be true that THIS guy wants to talk to you out of all the choices he has on the dating sites or Facebook
their profile contains bad spelling mistakes and fake information, like the scientific study is a non-existing school and on Facebook, the About section is so obviously wrong and a geographical mismatch that it almost makes you laugh.
it will be a lot about you and getting to know you and being very clingy and pushy to talk to you. But only in messenger or email. Seldom face to face. For then you see the real person.
they will very fast tell you they like you or even love you and request more personal contact through messenger or email
it will be less about them personally (although they are not afraid of sharing ‘personal information’ if necessary to lure you in) but all about their circumstances, being not well, in a big business deal or coping with bills and lack of means
at a certain point they all start asking for goods or money.
if you do not send money right away they become more desperate, create drama and try to emotionally blackmail you.
once you have sent money, they will ask for more.
they do not keep promises and have always an excuse as to why they cannot travel, meet or why they need more time, money or goods from you.
In the Philippines, the money requests are not so exorbitant as the Nigerians scammers request, but it adds up:
a new phone
a 1500 pesos medical bill
load for internet 1500 pesos
electricity bill 1500 pesos
a new business 5000 pesos
enrollment fees etc.
and usually, it is this kind of amount for this item always, with round figures. Like it is standardized or something. And you think: it is only 1500 pesos (30 euro) I can afford that easily and he/she is so poor……..
But after a few months, it is already ten thousand pesos and going towards 1000 euros and you do not even realize it.
Nigerian scammers go for the big amounts and easily ask you for huge chunks of your savings.
for a plane ticket to meet you
for a business deal that eventually buys you two a dream home (including pictures)
for a downpayment on something that involves you and your non-existing future with him
for that study that brings him closer to you (or his green card)
Many men and women are scammed out of tens of thousands of euros, all paid to a person you have never even met or seen on webcam.
The more refined scams are the ones where the person does show his or her face on webcam. But is doing so with many others. And you wonder how come she is online with you all the time, she must have no time for others, trust me, she has. Different time zones and little sleep do magic for your online income.
When he/she tells you she is out working or has no internet it is probably because someone else needs attention.
Scammers sometimes take months to build up a loving and caring relationship with you.
Ah, do I hear a sigh of relieve? Has your online lover only asked you to forward a laptop or phone to a person somewhere in the world? And has he or she never asked for any money, except the shipping costs from your address to the forwarding address?
You lucky one! You are probably involved in some criminal activity without even knowing it, it could be anything from selling stolen goods, to shipping drugs or money laundering.
Never ever agree to transfer money or goods to someone else coming from someone you have never met. Remember all the warnings in the airports about not taking someone else’s luggage and not to leave your luggage unattended? Well, the same kind of trick. And you are involved in criminal activities and could end up in jail.
Your pursuer is easily to talk about marriage and very possessive
it almost sounds too good to be true
he is good on a romantic level and good in bed
you are always the one paying the bills, somehow he forgot his wallet, never got his paycheck, etc.
he says he loves you easily and knows how to charm you
he will have an exclusive taste for clothing and jewelry, gadgets and dates
he will come up with emergencies, tell you casually about bills that are due
he will spend time with you when you have money to share, when you are nearing the end of your finances he will be going cold on you until your next check is coming in
he will grow in self-confidence and be bolder about spending your money when shopping look for more expensive items and not ask for them but trust for the fact that you love for him will recognize that he likes something else than
you had in mind and buy it for him/her
Now how to guard yourself?
Some women, and do not get me wrong in this, but some women are so needy for romance and so desperate they make easy targets. And that is the scammer’s lucky day. They wind you around their little finger with ease and you suck up their sweet words like a dry sponge sucks in water.
And before you know it all red flags are ignored and the first money is on its way.
You have to be self-confident, in love with yourself first before going online to date. Do not put all your hopes in another person, or one person, for that makes you an easy target.
When you are desperate for contact and you need to be close to someone for your self worth or to beat the loneliness, you are bound to be scammed.
So work on yourself first.
Then second: trust your gut feeling, if it looks too good to be true it probably is. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is also.
Why would a man love you and not want to meet you? And why would a guy be on a dating site if he is not willing to travel to you and invest a little in you?
The problem with offline dating is that the guy might invest in you a little and a little while, only to catch a bigger fish.
That is a little harder to distinguish.
I know I got used to me being a rich foreigner. They lure you in with fancy sweet talk and prepare romantic dates on the beach, and before you know it you end up spending whole days in resorts with an entrance fee, have expensive shopping sprees in faraway cities and you are the one paying.
Often you are the ticket to a richer life, more social status, an escape to your country. They will even go as far a marry you to accomplish that and you end up in a miserable marriage.
It is done in tourist hotspots like Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Tunis, and in Asia. It is done everywhere where there is a huge gap between rich and poor. It is done in third world countries and it is even done back home, in your own home town.
The point is, how to guard yourself for disappointment and how to make sure you lower the risk.
You can acknowledge the fact that you are being used and use the other person as a holiday buddy, or fuck buddy, and enjoy it while it lasts or as long as your budget lasts. But you have to make sure that whatever you choose, it is your choice, free of will and not your hope for a romantic fulfilled life. You have to have a good life of your own before you take on risks like this. You have to be emotionally stable and in control at all times.
For it is hard to say no to the money questions, or even the marriage proposal when you are lonely and vulnerable.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.