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Scamming the elderly | Inquirer Opinion

It is a modern-day cautionary story, besides that I don’t solely wish to warn folks, I would like the authorities (those that can do one thing about it) to please get their acts collectively to successfully catch the criminals.

Eden Bautista is my longtime buddy and affiliate. She is 80 years previous (seems to be like 50), a widow, retired with a authorities pension (P18,000/mo). She lives alone. Her three kids need her to dwell with any of them, however she is cussed, and doesn’t wish to spend the remainder of her days in a rocking chair. She feels she has far more to present her group and her nation and does so by doing numerous volunteer work—with the UP Neighborhood Chest, as a barangay “lupon,” in her church (though the final, she has not carried out because the pandemic). She lives a really lively and fulfilling life. Undoubtedly not a lonely one.

That life was upended final Sept. 28.

She and her youngest son VJ had been having their ordinary morning trade of texts, with jokes and endearments. He advised her he had a really busy day forward, with a great deal of papers to signal, interviews to conduct, conferences to attend. They then signed off.

An hour later, she noticed on Messenger chat a message from him that he had completed the papers, and that he was about to attend his first assembly. Then he requested her a favor—he was brief on money in the intervening time, and he wanted to pay P25,000 to a buddy who had lent him the cash for home repairs. His buddy wanted the cash again ASAP.

Like all good moms, she stepped as much as bat, however she didn’t know something about GCash processes. He texted her to not fear. Simply go to her financial institution (PNB within the UP campus) and they might assist her. He would ship the identify and the mobile phone variety of his buddy—Renzo Rob Saligumba, 0945-301-8267.

So she did, and it went easily. She went again to her workplace (volunteer work), texted him, and despatched the GCash affirmation. There was no reply from him, however she didn’t fear—in spite of everything, he stated he could be fairly busy.

It was at their ordinary night name that she came upon that she had been scammed. Her son VJ advised her that he had not chatted on Messenger, he would by no means borrow cash from his mother, Saligumba just isn’t his buddy. Her protection was that she thought that the Messenger chat was personal, and that she actually thought that she was chatting together with her son, what with the endearments and jokes and all.

At this juncture, let me say that Eden just isn’t a straightforward mark by any means. The scammer should have been surveilling her and her chats together with her son for a protracted sufficient time to be that credible. How might which have occurred? Isn’t Fb partly accountable?

However again to Eden’s residing nightmare. On the recommendation of her son, the very first thing she did the following morning (Sept. 29) was to alter her Fb account password (her house has no Wi-Fi or web, so she needed to wait), solely to search out it was already logged out (I believe that implies that the scammer/s had gotten management of her account).

She then reported the case through e-mail to the GCash customer support. They apparently replied to ship them a replica of the affirmation, which she did. That was the final she heard from GCash. So at this level, I ask—that affirmation consists of the identify of the recipient, Renzo Rob S, his cell quantity, a reference quantity: Ref. No. 1002 280 958805, and the date and time of the transaction—so why couldn’t the GCash folks assist her? Why the full silence so far? I’d actually prefer to know, Reader.

Eden was confronted with a alternative: to report back to the police to attempt to get her P25,000 again or to remain at house due to COVID. She selected well being over wealth. She gave up Fb, and didn’t use her mobile phone till 18 days later, when VJ gave her a brand new mobile phone.

However the nightmare continues: The scammer utilizing the Fb account which she can not log into, continues to victimize her mates. The newest of which occurred late final month and early this month. The victims had been each previous, and sickly, and had been satisfied that Eden was in dire want, in order that they coughed up P8,000 and P8,500, respectively—quantities which they might ill-afford.

So Eden lastly went to the Nationwide Bureau of Investigation, and to the QC Anti-Cybercrime Crew of the Philippine Nationwide Police. She has no phantasm that her P25,000 will likely be returned, however she desires to spare her mates. How can scammers function that lengthy, and with such impunity?

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