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  1. So if you're like me you sometimes have to send some funding overseas to friends or family. I've done it many ways, but in the recent past my service of choice, RemitHome, was consumed by transfast. The new outfit seemed not as good, but the rate was fine and they had no obvious issues so I let inertia rule and continued to use them. Until yesterday. Raise your hand if you know what a phishing scam looks like. I went to log in yesterday, and a page that said "we have sent you an email" opened, and I couldn't access the site. The email asked me to click a magic link and then the resulting page started off by asking for my login creds and then bank and credit card info. Does this sound at all familiar? This is precisely what a phishing scam would look like. But they are doing it to their own customers. Is it legit? I believe so. Is it a sign they don't take security seriously? In my opinion, absolutely yes. I'll never use them again, and I'd urge anyone here who uses them to consider their options.
  2. I try to surround myself with ethical people when I am in the Philippines. I would say that most people I deal with there, are honest. It’s just that sometimes they do things that fall into a gray area of what I call “non-sins”. Just like with the Undead- these are not really this nor that. Not alive and not dead. In other words, I still feel that what they did was unethical, while they don’t seem to think so. And there are no commandments which prohibit what they do. I am left with a strange aftertaste after each one of such manifestations of these “non-sins”. They have upheld all the Ten Commandment and they didn’t lie ( which is the unspoken 11th Commandment.) Their conscience is clear. But I still feel I was not treated fairly. And that they were not being ethical. This is what they do: Non-Sin 1. They don’t lie, they conceal. Aka: “If you don’t ask, I won’t tell”. One girl I dated for quite many months suddenly felt it was time to tell me that she couldn’t have kids. After all those months? Why are you telling me only now- after I spent so much time and so much money on you? You didn’t ask! Also, I’ve been taking care of a child whose single mother was my former house helper. I have no kids, and the child called me “Daddy”, so I did decide to kind of adopt the kid and help raise her. I’ve been sending about P5000 every month for all the school expenses, the nanny and the transportation to school- the nanny would take her and bring her back. She did. Suddenly, the nanny quit ( or was fired), and they decided to “hire” the kid’s own grandmother to do the job. I also learned that the child was now going to school alone and not using transportation. They didn’t tell me. I felt that a grandmother should be doing it for free- it’s her flesh and blood. My grandmother took care of me for free. Why not her? I only found out about it recently. Why didn’t you let me know? I should now pay less money, should I not? You didn’t ask! There are always all kinds of secrets and secret machinations going on in silence, and these are not made known to me. Smiles abound, but secrets lie beneath. Why not be open about them? Not in the SE Asian culture . Non-Sin 2. Beg and switch. This is a variation of the “bait-and-switch”, but in a slightly different form. And it’s not a scam or is it? A friend asks me for some money to help her kid with a field trip, or with payments for job requirements. The friend was not lying, she needed it. I sent the money. Suddenly, there is a change in plans, and the field trip is canceled by the school. Or she/he decides not to apply for the job, but instead, do something else. But the money is not returned to me, but instead, given to some relative for some other need. Or spent on something else. Hey, if there’s been a change in plans, should you not give me back the money? They don’t think that it was unethical to do what they did, though. It was not their fault that the field trip was canceled. And so what if I changed my mind? And the money is now mine, so I can do anything I want with it. Non-Sin 3: Unforetold Additionals. They announce a price to you on some service, but when you are in the middle of receiving it, there’ s a sudden additional cost which they did not tell you about. If you don’t pay, they will not continue providing the service. For example, you enroll in a course and they give you a list of costs, but they keep other costs hidden in secrecy. They hit them with you over the head when you are in the process. Why weren’t you upfront about the whole thing? You didn’t ask. Same with taxi drivers- who are nice guys, and give you the fare, but don’t mention the toll costs. What are you going to do when at a toll gate, and they are all smiling at you and waiting for you to pay? They did not lie, did not steal. No commandment was broken. You didn’t ask, they didn’t tell. But you pay. Non-Sin 4. They don’t steal, they just don’t pay back the debt. There is nothing in any religion about not paying back the debt being a sin. It’s not theft, it’s not lying. The person gave me the money at his/her own risk, I have other needs now and I can’t pay. It’s not my fault. I need money to pay for my rent, my phone, etc. I’ll pay when I can. (Which is usually never). Both wealthy- looking locals and foreigners who are in the PH are constantly hit with requests for loans. And in the majority of cases, these are not paid back. Ever. I belong to a religious organization, and after the service, I went home. Suddenly emails from members of the religion came to me, as well as phone calls asking for me to loan them money. I was in shock and refused. But one foreign lady was nice and generously helped with a P 100,000 loan. Needless to say, she never got her money back. She felt cheated, the debtor member hid somewhere, would not answer phone calls, then escaped and was gone for a long time. Both were educated people. Why? So much bitterness resulted from it. But all the commandments were upheld, no law was broken, no sin was committed. Non-Sin 5. They don’t lie, but they tell you half-truths. A leader in a religious organization asked me for a donation to help that person open a religious center. She would pay a part, I would pay a part. Fair enough, it is for a good cause. What the leader did not tell me was that she and her family would be living in that religious center, too. It had many rooms, a room for prayers and lectures and then, bedrooms. They made it their home, as well. Hmm, why not tell me? You didn’t ask. Did they lie or cheat? Did they steal? Did they do anything illegal? No. But why do I still feel that I had been cheated and treated unfairly? Such non-sins are very common in many SE Asian cultures. Thailand is also famous for them, although, there, they are “deeper” and more sophisticated. In Christian counties, these are not much part of the culture and people appear to be much more upfront about such things. But in SE Asian nations, you need to watch out for all these non-sins which nevertheless make you feel like you have been used. And you lost money! Bingo!
  3. The info below is hearsay, but should not be dismissed, imo. This is from an expat living there. He just contacted me and said that the local police get in cohouts with street kids who bother expats and then accuse them of hitting them. The expats then get locked up in jail until they pay a P100K fine. A friend of mine who is there has,according to him, also been framed by a neighbor who said that he had hit a kid. He had to spend a week in jail and was asked for a 100K "fine". He had no money so he decided to fight it. There is no proof and no witnesses. Every time there is a court date, though, the accusing party does not show up. Instead of dismissing the case, the judge simply puts off the hearing till yet another date. Ad infinitum. The man cannot leave or go anywhere and must attend the "hearings". Also, apparently, the level of crime in Angeles City is so high now that many expats are leaving the city and going to Cebu or Subic. Some are thinking of leaving the country altogether. There apparently was a grandious plan for Angeles City to become the new hub and the new gateway into the country. A new international airport was to be built. Now, these plans have been shelved and all these hotels and new condos are standing not quite as full as they expected them to be. Don't know if this is contributing to the high crime/set up level but it sure is not helping. Just a note for everyone to be careful.
  4. There is a short lame guy about 40 - facial features like that of a Guatemalan Indian, walking around Cebu, showing people an open wound on his heel. He says he needs tetanus shots but he has no money. If you take him to a pharmacy and buy a set of shots ( P965), he will then disappear with the medicine only to return to the pharmacy later and ask for a refund. This is how he makes his money. You've been warned.
  5. The ingenuity of scammers here never ceases to amaze me. I mean, you've got to be intelligent to come up with stuff like this. This is mostly in the Manila/Malate/Ermita area- a guy walks around at night with a foam lunch box and bumps into you from the side. Then, he staggers and drops the box with food getting spilled on the road. He then yells at you that because of you he has nothing to eat now and that you ruined his meal. He asks for 200-300 pesos so that he could buy food. After he gets his money, he repeats the same thing with another tourist.
  6. trax

    Fishy PLDT invoices

    Guys, this random foreigner wants to know your view on this subject: Im renting a house with internet, the owner shows me PLDT invoices every month. I did notice in last invoice that I'm also paying for a landline phone, but the phone at home is not working, no signal. I try to call to my supposed number (it's in the invoice I'm paying) and for my surprise it's ringing! So someone is having a landline for free. The owner of the house lived here before, so I guess she was using that landline number as her own, she did transfer to another subdivision, perhaps she did ask to change the phone address, but not the billing one. My question is, is it possible to divide the internet to one of the houses and the phone to the other address and having it all in the same invoice? I think it's very confusing, but it's the only logic I can find to this issue. I'm paying a lot for a very slow connection. And looking for the plans at PLDT site, it has no sense at all what I'm paying for.
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