Anti-Fraud Tips You Need To Remember

Earlier this year, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian revealed that his credit card was used to pay for food orders totaling hundreds of thousands. If this could happen to someone who is in power and position, what more on ordinary people like us?

This is why it is important to be extra careful and cautious, especially at a time when online shopping is more convenient. There will always be people who will take advantage of the situation and do whatever it takes to get your hard-earned money.

The good news is you can prevent that from happening. Here are some tips you need to remember to protect yourself against fraud:

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication. This means aside from entering your password, the system will also ask for a code sent to your mobile number or answer to a security question before you can log-in. It’s hassle, yes, but this feature ensures that no one can easily access your account anytime.
  • Use Strong Passwords. This is a must. A strong password with combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters will keep you protected against possible hacking.
  • Visit Secure Websites. Did you notice the padlock icon beside the website URL? Is it color green? If you answered yes on both questions, then it means that the website is secured – and it’s a good thing. This also means that the website uses SSL or secure socket layer to encrypt activities on the website.
  • Think Before You Click. The truth is malicious links are often hidden through hyperlinks or links that will lead you to a different website. While these links seem safe, links leading to another website might compromise your information. Make sure to check the destination URL when you put the cursor over the link to give you an idea on where the link will take you.
  • Be Careful When You Click Ads. Ads are exciting but most of the time, the real product or app isn’t how they were perceived to be. Take it easy when clicking ads since it could lead to phishing and malware attacks among others. It will also help if you install ad blockers since aside from added protection, it will give you a smoother and more pleasant experience.
  • Reduce Your Use Of Public WiFi. It’s okay when you just need to check something but as much as possible, do not use public WiFi. Use the free WiFi offered by establishments for browsing but when you need to use online banking or the website requires credit card information, use your mobile data or do it at home.
  • If It’s Too Good To Be True, Then It’s Not True. Words that say you’ll “get rich quick” or “double your money in one week” sound enticing, yes? Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as that. Even the riskiest investment in the form of stocks cannot double or triple your money in a matter of days. Make sure to check what is being offered first and don’t easily fall for promises of high returns.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Information. You will receive phone calls or emails asking information such as your personal or credit card details. Don’t easily divulge. This will make it easier for scammers to use your information against you.
  • Do Not Share Your Phone. Mobile browsing is common nowadays. Chances are you saved your details on your phone for easier browsing. This is why you need to be extra careful with your phone. Never share and keep your phone away from other people.
  • Never Share Passwords, Too. You don’t like sharing your phone, right? Then never share your passwords, too, no matter how close you are to that person. Your passwords in your several accounts is for your own use only. Keep your information safe.
  • Try Your Best To Pay In Cash. Credit card is convenient because you can buy any item and pay for it in installment. However, there is a possibility that someone could get your information and fraudulently use your account. If you can, then pay for your items in cash. This way, you don’t have to worry about monthly payments, too.

Scammers will always be there, looking for their next victim. Don’t easily fall on their traps and lose the money you earned. Although it won’t be 100 percent guarantee that you’ll be safe, these tips will still help in keeping yourself protected.

Frequently Asked Questions About OFW e-Card

How will you know if someone is an Overseas Filipino Worker? No ridicule or insult meant, but balikbayan boxes filled with pasalubong for the family is one. Also, one’s passport will tell if someone is an OFW since there must be a working visa stamped on it. Another sign would be Overseas Employment Certificate or an employment contract written in a foreign language with English transaction.

Perhaps, the most obvious would be having an OFW e-Card.

What is this card all about? How to get it? Why do you need to have one as an OFW?

Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about OFW e-Card:

What is OWWA’s OFW e-Card?

The e-Card is a proof that the holder is an active member of OWWA. Its aim is to provide faster and more convenient access to OWWA’s programs and services.

Take note that the OFW e-Card is currently in Phase 1, which means only Balik Manggagawa or those who will return to the same employer either in an old or new job site will be given.

So far, new hires, direct hires, and Government Placement Branch or GPB-hired workers won’t be covered. We have yet to wait for an advisory on when Phase 2 will start, which will cover the said OFW groups.

Is it free?

Yes. The OFW e-Card is part of the services of OWWA. However, in case you lose your card, you will have to pay for a new one in order to get it.

Visit the OWWA Regional Welfare Office near you and ask about the procedure in case you lose your e-Card.

Can it be considered as a government-issued ID?

Yes. In fact, you can also present the ID in the Philippine Embassy or Consulate or Philippine Overseas Labor Office or POLO in case you need to avail of a particular service.

You can also use your e-Card as among the requirements when applying for a loan.

Who can apply?

OFWs who met the following requirements may apply:

  • Active OWWA membership with more than 90 days validity
  • Valid Overseas Employment Certificate / Exemption Number
  • Valid passport

What are the benefits you can get from using your OWWA OFW e-Card?

This includes the following:

  • Serves as an Exit Clearance when leaving the country
  • Valid government-issued ID
  • Easier and faster way to avail of programs and services of OWWA
  • Digital OWWA OFW e-Card, which is available through the OWWA Mobile App
  • Permanent OWWA / OFW membership number

How will you know the status of your OWWA membership?

Simply download the OWWA Mobile App to check the status of your membership. The app can be downloaded for free at App Store for iPhone users and Google Play Store for Android users.

You can also follow up through the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office in case you’re still in the Philippines or POLO-OWWA if you’re still overseas.

What if you’re no longer an active OWWA member but has an active employment contract. Can you still qualify?

Yes. You can still renew your OWWA membership through the following options:

  • Online – Fill out the Online Application Form to get an OWWA OFW e-Card. You can access the form by clicking this link. Or, you can renew your membership through the OWWA mobile app.
  • Overseas – Simply go to the POLO-OWWA office in the country where you’re working
  • Philippines – OWWA Regional Welfare Offices can accept OWWA membership renewal applications. You can also visit OWWA Satellite Offices located in NAIA Terminal 1, 2, and 3, POEA Ortigas, Trinoma, and Duty Free Fiesta Mall.

What if you don’t have an OEC?

It’s okay as long as you are Balik Manggagawa, or an OFW will will return to the same employer on the same job site. Just make sure you will register in the BM Online System so you can get a BM Exemption Number.

You can use this BM Exemption Number when filling out the online application form.

Will the OFW e-Card be delivered?

Unfortunately, no. You can only pick up your e-Card in any OWWA Regional Office near you.

Can you apply for an OFW e-Card even if you’re overseas?

Yes. You can still apply online by clicking this link.

Unfortunately, there are no delivery services yet. This means you can only get your ID based on your assigned pick up location. You can get your e-Card upon arrival in the Philippines.

If you wish to get your e-Card even if you’re still overseas, then you can assign someone to pick it up for you. Make sure that your authorized representative has an Authorization Letter and a copy of your Passport Identification Page. Simply present these documents so your representative can get your ID.

What are you waiting for? Get your OFW e-Card now to enjoy its benefits.

The Ultimate Money-Saving Tips For 2021

If there’s one thing many people will agree on, then it should be nothing is more important than having savings. 2020 taught us the value of saving and living simply, we plan to continue that this 2021. A lot of businesses closed or scaled down their operations, which led to loss of jobs. Many OFWs were also sent home and despite the financial assistance, P10,000 is simply not enough to survive.

This is why this year, saving is and will be a priority. Here’s the ultimate list on how to save money this year – and beyond:

  1. Health is wealth. At a time like this, nothing beats being healthy and making sure that you are Covid-free. We cannot afford to get sick at a time like this because aside from possibly infecting the people around you, it entails costs, too. Therefore, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep well.
  2. Budget is life. Setting limits and allocating a specific amount for each expense not only prevent overspending but also ensure that money is well-spent. Just make sure you’ll stick to it to maximize its benefits.
  3. Track your spending. You need to know where your hard-earned money is going. Therefore, make a list of every expense, regardless of the amount. This will give you an overview on where you can cut back in order to save more.
  4. Emergency fund is a must. The importance of emergency fund was highly emphasized last 2020. This type of fund is intended to, well, help you during emergencies, which means it should give you at least three months-worth of cash on hand. Take it one P100 bill every week because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.
  5. Know thy prices. One of the beauties of online platforms is that goods are more accessible. However, this could mean more sellers are selling the same items. Before you commit, make sure you check the prices to make sure that you get the most competitive price.
  6. Think before you click. Or add to cart. Online shopping is tempting and sellers will constantly come up with ways to entice people to buy. Before you add to cart, think hard first. Do you really need it? Is it useful? Is it worth the price? Can it wait? If two or three days passed and you still want it, then maybe it is worth it. Don’t let your shopping impulse control you.
  7. Home-cooked meals over takeouts. Restaurant food is tempting, especially during lazy days. Unfortunately, getting too much takeouts can strain your budget. Nothing beats home-cooked meals because aside from generous serving, they are way cheaper, too.
  8. Save electricity. Whether it’s turning off the lights or unplugging unused appliances, these little acts could make a difference in your electricity bill.
  9. Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions. Anyone in the family probably signed up with monthly subscription services. You might not be using your cable TV that much. Regardless, discontinuing subscriptions services could help you save more, which you can use to build your Emergency Fund.
  10. Say goodbye to vices. Similar to pricey subscription services, vices such as smoking or alcohol equates to costs. Quit these vices because you’ll not only save more financially but also, you’ll save your health.
  11. Don’t follow trends. You’ve seen a lot of trends online like fusion of food or even plants. As tempting as it looks, don’t easily give in. Following trends means paying for something, which also means you have to allocate a certain portion of your budget for that item. Unless you are passionate about it, say plants, don’t join the bandwagon.
  12. Sales are okay. Whether it’s 11.11 or 12.12, sales are fine AS LONG AS you stick to a budget and you only buy what is essential. Online sales are not an excuse to splurge. Stick to the basics because you’ll never know when you will need cash.
  13. Pay bills on time. This is a must. Although utility companies give grace period, it’s still not an excuse not to settle those bills. Aside from possible disconnection, you will be required to pay for penalty fees and reconnection fee in case you want to still avail of their service.
  14. Pay loans on time, too. Apart from the bills, it is recommended that you pay off any existing loans. You’ll be able to save more because you don’t have to worry about interest fee anymore.
  15. Stick to a grocery list. This is also important. The supermarket can be a tempting place because of tons of food. Make sure you’ll buy only and only what you need. Avoid overspending and always stick to your list.
  16. Take it easy on loans. Loans can be a good way to augment your financial needs. Unfortunately, this could be a cause of downfall, too, especially if you’re not too careful. Therefore, apply for a loan only when necessary. Make sure to “shop” for lenders and check which among them will give you a reasonable rate and loan terms.
  17. Delay what you can. Do you really need a new smartphone? Is there a need to buy new shoes and clothes? Do you really have to get your hands on the latest Play Station? The point is if you can delay your wants, then much better.
  18. Learn to say NO. Most people think that being an OFW means you have a “deep cash well” since you earn in dollars. You’ll have relatives or friends coming over and asking if they can borrow money. Learn on how to say no politely. You’ll never know when you will need your funds, so it’s better to be prepared.
  19. Saving is a family thing. Parents are not the only ones who should adjust and make saving a habit. Every member of the family must take part in it. As parents, now is the best time to educate your kids on the importance of saving and living simply. Make this as a family effort and you will reap the rewards in no time.

Are you ready to follow this list? 2021 is a good start to start with good saving habits.