For those of us having lived a few years in the Philippines there is no doubt that the ways of working and the inbuilt corruption really can fall on the unsuspecting foreigner who may believe that it cannot happen to him.
It can and will as many Filipinos with an urge for crime will always pick on the target that is having money and is new. We have all been there from simple things like people wanting to borrow money or putting people through school and finding that a new refrigerator and TV is where the money was spent. Yep that happened to me.
When you catch somebody out here it is often useless going to report anything to the authorities as it costs money and takes such a longtime. The other reason is that you are ignored and in some cases there is even a well done to the thief or fraudster for getting something from a perceived rich foreigner. OF COURSE this s not the whole population of the Philippines, but it is a high percentage of the people that you will meet who come into your life as a foreigner living or visiting in the Philippines.
Think I may be over reacting? The following comes from the New Zealand Foreign Affair and Trade website.
Many foreigners visiting or living in the Philippines become victims of scams or frauds, and some have lost considerable amounts of money. There are a variety of ways to relieve unsuspecting or naïve foreigners of their money.
This is a persistent problem in the Philippines, and it is not uncommon for Filipinos to enter into marriages with foreign citizens solely for financial or immigration purposes. Relationships developed through correspondence, especially those begun on the internet, are particularly susceptible to manipulation.
Marriage to a New Zealand citizen doesn’t confer New Zealand citizenship, nor does it make the new spouse automatically eligible for entry to New Zealand. A foreign spouse requires a temporary entry visa to enter and visit New Zealand. Please ensure that if you intend for your partner to travel to New Zealand with you or to visit you, you are aware of the visa requirements that must be met as defined by Immigration New Zealand.
Some criminals add knockout or ‘date rape’ drugs (known locally as Ativan) to drinks or food to subdue and rob their victims. It is best not to accept food, drink or rides in private vehicles from strangers, even if they appear legitimate.
The perpetrator makes a telephone call usually to a the victim’s home and tells the person answering (usually a member of the domestic staff) that the resident or resident’s guest has been involved in an accident. The caller says the resident or guest is in distress and that money is immediately needed for the urgent medical treatment. (Sometimes the reasons for the immediate need of money vary, e.g. to pay off somebody so the media doesn’t get involved.)
The caller advises the staff member to leave the telephone off the hook, search the house for money or valuables such as jewellery, and take it to a rendezvous point.
Domestic staff should be warned about this type of scam. They should be trained not to comply with such demands and given advice about what to do if called.
These can involve being befriended by a local and asked to join in a friendly game of cards. Once you have won a few times, the stake increases and your winning streak disappears. These scams can have serious consequences — local gangs have been known to force victims into withdrawing large sums from ATM machines. Avoid getting involved in card games.