Technology has its ups and downs. Sure, you can connect with anyone in the world and pay bills wherever you are in the world. Unfortunately, the digital world can be a breeding ground for all things scam and illegal. If you’re not too careful, then you might end up being a victim as well. Worse, you could lose your hard-earned money and surely, you don’t want that to happen.
That being said, here are some of the online scams you need to be careful for – with tips on how to avoid them.
Online Investment Scam
This is very common. Many people are slowly considering and embracing the importance of investing money. Unfortunately and if you’re not too careful, you might end up putting your money in the wrong basket.
Below are the most common online investment scams in the Philippines:
- Online Paluwagan – Known as onpal, this scheme regulates similar to the traditional paluwagan wherein members will take turns in receiving money from the pooled funds depending on the payout schedule. Facebook is the most common method used by onpal wherein a promise of cash deposit, remittance, or wire transfer is the mode of payment. To be able to earn more, you need to recruit members between one to 90 days. Unfortunately, many onpal members reported that they were not able to receive their money.
- Fake Online Lending Companies – Borrowing money has never been this easy, thanks to online lending companies. Because of the popularity, scammers are enticing people to join by investing their money in micro-financing or lending companies. The pitch: you get to earn as much as 12 percent every week. This seems like a good idea and those behind the scam will pay the initial returns to make you believe that they are legitimate. Unfortunately, they’ll disappear after.
- Paid-to-Click Programs – The concept is simple: click on online ads, log-in daily, or get referrals. Then, you’ll get paid depending on your daily turnout. While this seems like an easy way to earn money, you might end up losing more. In fact, you’ll be asked to pay a membership fee or buy advertising products, which will serve as your “share” of the profits. While this sounds tempting, there is no assurance that you will get paid – after all the effort and money you put through.
- Offshore Stock Trading – OFWs have more dollars than peso on hand. Why not invest it, right? After all, you saw that ad on offshore investment on Facebook, which sounds promising. Unfortunately, this is a classic example of a scam since this type of investment scheme is not allowed to operate in the Philippines.
- Bitcoin Investment – Cryptocurrency, popularly known as bitcoin, took the world by storm. Like they say, the higher you climb. the harder you fall, especially those who invested their money in this type of currency. It promises as high as 200 percent profit wherein transactions are done through mobile wallets, bank deposit, or remittance companies. The BSP considered bitcoin investment as “speculative and highly risky” that could lead to huge losses. Plus, this type of currency is not backed up any goods, company, or services unlike physical money.
Here’s the good news: there are several ways where you can protect yourself and your hard-earned money from online investment scams. The first thing you need to do is to check, read, and understand what you’re investing for.
Also, the company must be registered and authorized by the Securities and Exchange Commission to operate as an investment or lending company. Having a legitimate and registered company name is different from being allowed to operate and conduct investment operations. It must be explicitly approved by the agency.
Regularly check advisories issued by the SEC. The agency releases statements on the latest investment scams as well as companies involved in it. Keep in mind that ignorance excuses no one. Visit the website from time to time and see the latest news.
More importantly, don’t easily fall for ads that promise big returns. Return of your investment will take time, not days. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, then it is not true.