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AmericanInCebu

Suckered into a crazy, crazy, low-stakes but complex scam!!

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jtmwatchbiz
35 minutes ago, AmericanInCebu said:

I guess I don't know much about scams Shadow, but it just seemed like an incredible amount of effort for them to go to just to get a birthday party catered!  (I mean, if you're going to go to such lengths to scam somebody, with lots of people involved, why not go for something huge!

well i don't know about huge but if you want to really have something on a larger scale to complain about just meet up with me and my crew and we''ll buy all your watches for pennies on the dollar.   i mean i wouldn't want you to think all your local tales of woe are small potatoes.  :biggrin_01:

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Jawny
2 minutes ago, AmericanInCebu said:

For sure.  Heck, it was a gorgeous ferry ride on the way back and I was both embarrassed and laughing at myself!

Out of curiosity, what is a "peace and justice officer"?  Do they really have civilians who cooperate with police?  Doesn't matter one way or the other, I was just curious as to whether that lady was lying to me too

That may have been a made up title.  However, there is a Barangay level system where community members are part of a first level justice system (others can give you the name). We have a neighbor who we just call the "lawyer wannabe". 

It wouldn’t surprise me the reason the peace and justice officer told you the truth was guilt.  Her guilt in standing by while this happened.

I feel a twinge of guilt when I recall an incident several years ago involving a foreigner who I suspected was being duped.  I met him when he moved into a house close by and as a neighbor we would chat once in a while.  He had come here and gotten married to a local girl.  She was quite a beauty.  He came to live here while they processed her visa application to the USA. 

My wife began to hear rumors about the girl. My wife doesn’t gossip much, so we didn’t really make any effort to confirm the rumors.  The basic rumor was the girl was a shabu user and often would leave her husband to get high.  Well, the other rumors was she was also getting laid, by others than her husband.  

They did get the visa and did move to the USA. 

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oztony
5 minutes ago, Jawny said:

However, there is a Barangay level system where community members are part of a first level justice system (others can give you the name).

 

10 minutes ago, oztony said:

May have been the local barangay tanod ......

 

 

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to_dave007
50 minutes ago, AmericanInCebu said:

It's hard to describe how much of a dunce I felt like!!!

I wouldn't feel so bad if I was you.  Many of us have such stories with much higher $ figures attached.  Mine was Rodiah..  in Jakarta..  more than a decade ago..  and cost me much much more.

Imagine how much of a dunce my good Canadian friend.. aged 70+..  feels..  when he learned that his 62 year old "wife" committed bigamy when she "married" him, then defrauded him of 20+ million peso for purchase of half dozen properties.  In fact..  he feels like SO MUCH of a dunce that he can't get his REVENGE in the courts out of his head.  It's slowly but surely consuming what's left of his life.

You got off easy..  You should thank the girl for her life lesson.

Nonetheless.. thanks for the story.  well written..  would like to see more writing from you.

Edited by to_dave007
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shadow

BPSO officers are common in some areas.

 

OP, be grateful you found out so soon, and easy. Many do not.

We are currently involved in a case where a fraudulent marriage took place 4 years ago. Since then the wife has developed cancer and a host of other ailments. The uninformed husband funded all her treatment, plus $500 USD per week for her medication. He finally got suspicious and contacted us, and within days we had proven that she was not being treated for anything. Her "Doctor" did not even exist.

Total amount out of pocket, about $100,000 USD. 

Total of damage done to an old man's heart and ego, priceless. She took his entire life savings, leaving him only his SS. He will never recover.

He should have contacted us years ago, but did not want to believe his loving wife would do this to him.

Feel lucky?

www.pointmancebu.com

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savarity

Very common for girls on dating sites to have a husband or boyfriend already. Just something one has to get used to.

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SkyMan

So anyway, how was the vacation you set up? Did you meet anyone?

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liquido
2 hours ago, AmericanInCebu said:

Then the peace-officer lady pulled up to me and said, "Can I talk to you for a bit?"  She pulled me aside. 

"Sure, what's up?" 

"You seem like a really nice guy.  I think you should know the truth." 

"What's that?" 

"That girl that you're visiting, well, that's not her brother.  It is her boyfriend.  Everyone knows that, except you.  I just thought you should know.  I'm afraid you've been taken for a ride, and the whole family is in on it.  I'm very sorry."  

Thats what is bitter sweet about this scam..She knew what was going down..

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AmericanInCebu
9 minutes ago, liquido said:

Thats what is bitter sweet about this scam..She knew what was going down..

Well, it's better than nobody telling me.  Call me a rube, but I really had no idea what was going on until she spilled the beans!  

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liquido

Here stories like this here frequently..My favorite was when this one new guy took the family out for dinner and noticed towards the end of the dinner he noticed many family members where getting bags brought to them by the waiters.He was thinking doggy bags.Wrong..When he got the check he saw that all the bags where take outs that they ordered..haha

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to_dave007
2 hours ago, AmericanInCebu said:

So, we took a trike to their family's home.  Now, I am somewhat familiar with the Philippines and lower standards of living, but this was the first truly dirt, dirt poor family I ever met.  Maybe 20 people in the extended family, living in one hut with two tiny outbuildings, a rice field of maybe 5 acres or so, some really haggard looking caribous and nothing else.  I went in.  Just a dirt floor in the hut.  No running water.  One bare lightbulb on the ceiling in the main room.  No furniture other than a couple of hand-hewn benches and a couple of woven-mat-type benches.  A raised area for sleeping.  Absolutely _filthy_.  Lots of smoke inside the house from an idling cooking fire.  Little kids running around with no pants.  An old, old lady who lived in some unlit corner who seemed barely alive.  Anyhow I said hi to everyone, and gave the mom a lot of good chocolates I'd brought for her … she didn't speak English but smiled.  In 5 minutes the chocolates were smeared around the little kids' faces and everyone still hugged them and the chocolate got all over everything.  

One observation I will make is that POVERTY does NOT equal FILTHY.  Many poor in this country who manage to live in dignity, despite their circumstances.

You have described some of your observations..  quite well..  but I can't help thinking of some missing observations..

  • Did the house have any plants or flowers or color around it at all?
  • Did the house have garbage strewn around, or were the grounds clean?  any signs of junk food snacks?
  • what was the old lady wearing?  was it clean?
  • The kids with no pants..  did they appear clean?
  • how many children with no apparent father?
  • what time of day was it..  were the men working at all? doing what?
  • did they have a pile of firewood?
  • any signs of food in the house?  what was it?
  • was it a school day.. were the school age children in school.. or at home?
  • did they offer you anything to eat or drink when you arrived?
  • did they raise the dirt floor to keep it dry when it rains?
  • was there a CR of any kind?  if not?  where did everyone do their business?
  • I'm sure others can think of lots of additional things to observe.

Maybe it's just me..  but I give high marks to people who manage to live in dignity, and do honest work, even if they don't have much.

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oztony
19 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

Maybe it's just me..  but I give high marks to people who manage to live in dignity, and do honest work, even if they don't have much.

And are also entrepreneurial ...?  :hi:

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towboat72

I bet your the first guy that's fallen for this scam.Stop beating your self up.

Could have been worse if you hadn't realized something was wrong,they could still be milking  you.

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AmericanInCebu
22 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

One observation I will make is that POVERTY does NOT equal FILTHY.  Many poor in this country who manage to live in dignity, despite their circumstances.

You have described some of your observations..  quite well..  but I can't help thinking of some missing observations..

  • Did the house have any plants or flowers or color around it at all?
  • Did the house have garbage strewn around, or were the grounds clean?  any signs of junk food snacks?
  • what was the old lady wearing?  was it clean?
  • The kids with no pants..  did they appear clean?
  • how many children with no apparent father?
  • what time of day was it..  were the men working at all? doing what?
  • did they have a pile of firewood?
  • any signs of food in the house?  what was it?
  • was it a school day.. were the school age children in school.. or at home?
  • did they offer you anything to eat or drink when you arrived?
  • did they raise the dirt floor to keep it dry when it rains?
  • was there a CR of any kind?  if not?  where did everyone do their business?
  • I'm sure others can think of lots of additional things to observe.

Maybe it's just me..  but I give high marks to people who manage to live in dignity, and do honest work, even if they don't have much.

Certainly I agree with you that just being simple does not at all equate with being dignified and honest.  To your questions:

  • Did the house have any plants or flowers or color around it at all?

None other than the natural greenery around it.  Pretty well-worn dirt areas around the house and the two tiny outbuildings.

  • Did the house have garbage strewn around, or were the grounds clean?  any signs of junk food snacks?

They were fairly clean.  I didn't notice any garbage.

  • what was the old lady wearing?  was it clean?

As I recall, her clothes were fairly clean. She looked to be about 150 years old, honestly!

  • The kids with no pants..  did they appear clean?

No, they were very filthy yet everyone hugged them and carried them around like it was nothing

  • how many children with no apparent father?

Some, but I didn't count but there were some for sure.  I have to confess, there were so many people there that I couldn't quickly figure out who was who

  • what time of day was it..  were the men working at all? doing what?

About 3pm but on a Saturday.  No one was working.

  • did they have a pile of firewood?

Didn't notice

  • any signs of food in the house?  what was it?

No signs whatsoever, at least that I noticed

  • was it a school day.. were the school age children in school.. or at home?

Was a Saturday

  • did they offer you anything to eat or drink when you arrived?

Nothing at all, not even water

  • did they raise the dirt floor to keep it dry when it rains?

I noticed that the room where everyone apparently slept was up off the ground by 18" or so.  The rest of the floor was just at ground level.

  • was there a CR of any kind?  if not?  where did everyone do their business?

It must have been in an outhouse of some sort; certainly there wasn't one in the house

 

 

 

 

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AmericanInCebu
6 minutes ago, towboat72 said:

I bet your the first guy that's fallen for this scam.Stop beating your self up.

Could have been worse if you hadn't realized something was wrong,they could still be milking  you.

It's all part of the fun I guess!  I'm not beating myself up too bad.  I mean, heck there's nothing wrong with giving poor people a meal.  6000 pesos for tons and tons of carefully-prepared food was a real bargain.  Just hate the disrespect of being scammed.

One little thing that struck me as very odd.  The girl in question, while beautiful, wasn't just petite as many filipinas obviously are.  She was a midget.  Looked super cute and thin, and normal proportions, but could not have weighed more than 60 lbs.  No exaggeration!  Smallest adult I ever saw.  When I met her at the port I remember thinking, this is very odd!  The rest of the people there were normal-sized

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