Do Unlimited Text Schemes Make Scamming Easier?

I just received a text this afternoon, and it’s all too familiar:

D’Auditor’s of PGMA Charity foundation nform u dat ur cel.# Won P.950,000 2nd prize winner draw last:07/17/07 DTI.#1058 s2007 call now i’m atty.Marton G. Reyes [sic]

I quoted the SMS as is.

Now I’m an avid fan of scam-baiting activities, such as those on 419eater.com (do check out the site; lots of fun stuff there). I’ve actually tried communicating with email scammers, and they really get persuasive with their attempts to get your information. I’ve tried creating dummy identities, complete with fake IDs, email addresses and telephone numbers.

These people are desperate to cheat you out of your money, and even a year after my last contact, the 419 scammer (a.k.a. “nigerian scammer”) is still emailing me following up their requests for information.

With SMS scams, sometimes I’m tempted to respond, and lead these people around in circles–possibly even to reveal their identities or perhaps get caught by the authorities. At the very least, responding to them and exchanging messages would deplete their mobile credits. The point is to make them exert enough effort and spend enough time to think it’s not worth scamming you anymore (but of course, you spend time and effort, too).

But–and this is a big but–today’s unlimited texting schemes make it easy and cheap for scammers to mass-send text messages to other users within their networks. For instance, for about PhP 50, you can get five days’ worth of unlimited texting, or so. How many messages do you think these scammers can send in that time? I think in a day, they can send hundreds manually. What more if their phone or SIMs are connected to computers?

And out of those thousands, even if only a small percentage responds and even if a smaller percentage actually believes and gets lured into sending prepaid credits, cash, or whatever other things the scammers are asking for, it’s still worth the low investment of a few pesos per day (or week).

The marginal cost is nil or close to nil, so this means the more messages they send out, the better their chances of getting more in return.

Unlimited texting schemes are a godsend to heavy texters. It’s a good thing. But with any good thing, these schemes are prone to abuse. And I think these text scams are made easier this way.

So, do you think there are ways to prevent this type of abuse?

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  • JM Ibanez

    It’s the same problem with spam actually, and we haven’t had a foolproof solution to it until now. With Moore’s Law increasing the processing muscle on our mobile devices, and with the lowering costs of 3G and the like, we might see built-in “spam filters” on our phones — textspeak will complicate matters though.

    As an adjunct, maybe in the future our mobile networks will act like our social networks — we will receive only message from those people who we know; sending a message to someone who does not have your number in their address book or “social network” will cost you, instead of the current scheme of paying for every message that you send out.

    (In fact, that just might work instead of a spam filter, now that I think about it. By putting a small burden on that side of the mass senders, you inhibit them from mass sending in the first place, especially if the recipients do not know the mass sender).

  • Divine Dacome

    I just received also a text message today, July 20, 2007 from cellphone number+63915448252. Here is the text: Notice From: D’Auditors of The PGMA. Charity Foundation u dat ur Cp no# WonPhp.950,000 last 07/19/07 PlsCall me Now i’M ATTY. WILFREDO S. LACOSTE.

    I hope our government will do something to this kind of people.

    Thank you

  • These scammers prey on the stupid, innocent, and naive. ergo, inform your loved ones, especially those new to the texting world (hi, mom and dad)and tell them specifically never, ever to believe these text scammers.

    In this case I think a technological solution is just a waste of money and manpower. Once people wise up to these scammers, they go out of business. end of story.

  • Will

    I got my hands on a Java program for my mobile that lets me send free text whenever i want (i have data included) but also, i can choose who i recieve text from as well, so i only use it with my friends, and we can exchange free messages without worrying about spam or unsolicited text (it’s a beta program, but works fine on my Nokia)

    If you want, you can check it out at http://www.yoober.com

  • kayehana

    hi..im a student hu’s helper rvced a txt saying ” you have just won 950T. please call me now!!!! ATTY. AMANDO MADGRGAL, JR.” I JUST WANT IT TO BE CONFIRMED

  • Today I just recieved a sms message saying:

    “D’AUDITOR’s of Philippine Charity Foundation nform u dat ur Celfon no. Won Php950,000.00 2nd prize Winner draw last: AUG/03/07 Pls Call Me Now I’m ATTY.JOEY G. CHUA”
    Sender:+639063727715

    I called them because I thought it was just friends of mine who are just picking on me. But when I spoke to a person she sounded like she was someone who never knew English and she was telling me that the ATTY. Chua guy was on a board meeting.

    I asked her if they had a website where I can check about their foundation. All she said was “Philippine Charity Foundation”.

    I then checked out http://sec.gov.ph there was no such thing as a foundation listed on that name.

  • Lui Dungca

    I just received the same txt message today saying that I’ve won 950K and call a certain ATTY. VENUS A. AYALA at cel no.09159447487 to how to claim my prize.
    I was concerned that it was scam so i tried check the net and thank God that I’ve found it out early!!!! ^_^

  • ronald

    just received the same text with a return cellphone of 0915.5097364 c/o an atty. james p. lopez. sender phone was 0927.7210148. told them to send money asap! no need to talk. hahaha.

    i want to spam their cellphone. anyway of doing it?

  • Adrian

    Text Scam

    I receive a message from +639053157320 stating…
    ……….
    D’AUDITOR’s of PHIL.CHARITY FOUNDATION nform u dat ur Celfon no. Won Php950,000.00 2nd prize Winner draw last:08/20/07 Pls Call Me Now I’m Mr. JOE G. MENDOZA
    ………

    I received this message exactly 14:24:12 08-21-07

    Thanks for your security…

  • Mikee

    Same text template used: “Notice From: D’Auditors of The PGMA.Charity Foundation inform u dat ur Cp no# Won Php.950,000 last 08/29/07 Pls!Call me n0w IM ATTY.DENNIS G.UY” — +6390532559881

    Just got this a few minutes ago. )-:

  • Ren de Castro

    i also received the same message with Mikee, which stated stated “Notice From: D’Auditors of The PGMA.Charity Foundation inform u dat ur Cp no# Won Php.950,000 last 08/24/07 Pls!Call me n0w IM ATTY.DENNIS G.UY” — 09165556651

  • guraot

    just received same text message, i still havent called or texted them yet, i searched for the validity of this thru internet and found out its just a scam, Now im thinking how i can lure them to believe that im still interested to catch these culprits. Can anyone help me do this?

  • BOY

    I DID ALSO RECEIVED SAME TEXT JUST TODAY 2:03 PM sEPT 13, 2007 FROM ATTY VENUS AYALA. IT’S GOOD THAt I HAVE MY PC. I CHECKET IT OUT IMMEDIATELY VIA INBTERNET AND FOUND OUT ALL YOUR COMMENTS GUYS… THANKS FOR ALL THIS INFO…

    THE NUMBER OF ALLEGED ATTY AYALA IS 09165552252. IS THERE ANYWAY WE COULD DO TO STOP THIS PEOPLE FROM VICTIMIZING OUR POOR KABABAYAN?

  • hi guys!

    after so many spam/scam/phishing/etc. mails i got from around the world, my would be reaction to new e-mails or txt msgs. of these sorts is to check the net with the name/s sending these communications. so, got this txt just a few minutes ago and got to my pc at work and found this page. thanks for this collection of reactions/comments. mine was from atty. welfredo g. lacoste informing of a winning of my cp no. of the amount 950,000Php. i was tempted to reply, but sayang ang load ko!!! they sometimes get to my nerve, esp. those that get into my mailbox, so annoying!!! thanks a lot again!

  • just this day,18/12/2007,a text messege from this no. +639293466863 and the same message that i won P950t. his telling that he is atty.alex g.chua and he also tells that i have to call him now. how did this happened? this is very alarming and distructive to every one. is there something the government or whoever is conserned do to stop this kind of activity? we hope so, i do my part then pls do yours.

  • Al gonzalez

    same text i received from phil charity foundation. quite erroneous i can say. a charity giving prizes, what a scam,.wht the ogvernment should do is block or cancel the cell No. given. So that the scammer will have a bad day acquiring some more sim… the cell company will be a winner in this scam.thanks

  • Kathleen

    I just recieved the same text message. This time from a certain Chris Gozun Yu, and the no. used is +639274933899.

  • Maria – Kuwait City

    I recieved this message:
    D’Auditors of PCF nform u dat ur Cp.# Won php 750,000.00 2nd prize winner draw lst 22feb.’08/dti-NCR permit # 2836/for more info call me now! Atty. Ralph J. Mendez
    number: +639104988259

    I called back and he asked me to send all my information via text message.

    I guessed that its a scam and I hope this stops.

  • Beng

    I received this message on February 28,2008; time 07:11:14:

    Congrats!Ur cel# had won worth of P/950,000 2nd prize.n(PGMA)charity fundraising draw.Feb,26 2008.Pls. Call me now! Atty. Leonard G.Bautista

    cell# +639206989204

    I didn’t call but I send a message: “Tutoo ba ito, baka scam yan.” He didn’t response.

    Beware of this illicit acts just to make money by fooling other people.

  • Michael Adriatico Dondoyano

    from gsis/dipolog city/egie799/

    Nka recieved den aq ng message:
    D’Auditors of PCF nform u dat ur Cp.# Won php 750,000.00 2nd prize winner draw lst 03Mar.’08/dti-NCR permit # 2836/for more info call me now! Atty. Ralph J. Mendez
    number: +639094965859

  • vangie

    ill also received the same spam from 09208537541 today at 12:30pm the notice says: Congratulations! Office of the PGMA foundation would like to inform you that your cell# won 1,000,000 pesos via electronic raffle during annual anniversary.for info on how to claim your prize. Callthe office of Atty.Victor T. Salongga PTR # 1404095 Monetaqry Board director . DTI Permit 08536-08. i just want to let you guys, a lot of people doing this scam and using PGma foundation.

  • Celso

    thanks guys!!! got the same message from atty. mendez.. when i checked the web.. confirmed that its just a scam.

    lets pray that people behind this be put into prison..

  • I have received too several text messages such like these. Just now, I just tried searching about the DTI Permit No and it led me here … 😛

    Here’s the num who sent me this: 09094965891

  • Philip

    I am SO SICK of getting these. Its always the same crap, the only thing that changes is “Atty.” to some generic pinoy name. “CONGRATULATIONS!” Mukha mo!
    There needs to be a way to halt these worthless messages.

  • Clifford

    I received this message on May 15 2008 from D’ Auditors of Phil. Charity Foundation nform that my cp# won 950,000 2nd prize winner. Pls call me now im Atty. HALIL N. LUGMAN I did’nt call but I send a message: load me 300 then i call u but he did’nt response.

  • will

    got this text message from someone who call himself John Y. Sison with cell phone number 09205086149.
    “Congratulations; Ur SIM number have won a cash prize from PCMC thru CPV electronic raffle draw. call me up now to claim your prize. I’m John Y. Sison.”

    wow, who is this John Y. Sison? is he a member of senate committee on scam or member of congress? What is PCMC and CPV? another foolish guy huh!

  • *angel*

    today i received a txt msg “D’AUDITORS OF PGMA CHARITY FOUNDATION N’FORM U DAT UR CP # WON P950,00.00 2ND PRICE WINNE, DRAW LAST 6/4/08PER DTI #0146S08.PLZ CALL ME ATTY. ROLAND G. REYES” when i got the msge i dont know what i was thinking… but since this is the first time of receiving these msge, i was surprised and got excited about it… without any doubts, as soon as i got home i called the number 0909-567-1740. looking for ATTY ROLAND G. REYES whose name under that txt msge. he brieftly explained how i should claimed and he explain how i won the raffle… as a first time receiver, i even got more excited,… while he explains that i have to buy atleast 8 pcs prepaid call card or 2,400.00 worth of call cards… then i thought again… i drop the phone and go to the internet and search about the PGMA CHARITY FOUNDATION, nothing came up except this site that has forums, comments about these hoax txt msge. i also read an article from the site of Office of the Press Secretary (www.news.ops.gov.ph) that Mr. Bunye had warned the public about this scam. Now, i cant even believe that i make my self fool about this. i just told my self ” damn me… why did i even believed these fool txt msge” just right after i found out this “non-sense” txt msge i grab my phone and txt back the guy ” u bastard! stop fooling me with your stupid txt msges. scammers! ” i am pretty nervous about that , thinking that they might track me where i live and killed me? ( i know this is a foolish thought) no wonder why he can’t even call me, they dont have loads… hahaha … its good that articles like this is posted through internet … atleast to warned the many people who will or might believe this scamms… its just.. i dont used to lived here in the philippines, thats why maybe ?… i got easily fooled.! to all people please do not believe this… its a scam! nothing but scam!

  • Fauna

    i just received also the same text i thought ar first it’s real. Cause they’re using some information thing like dti-NCR permit #. But i think i am more smarter than them before giving i search thru internet. then WallaH!! here’s the truth!

  • Lemar Omar

    BEWARE:::ATTY. ARNOLD B. CHUA (09098203899)
    He just sms me that my SIM has won PhP650,000 thru electronic raffle draw from PGMA Charity Foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “Handog Pangkabuhayan” last Jul 17.
    PASAWAY!!!!!!…hahahaha,,,,….gong-gong!!!!
    I know those scammers!!!!!damn shit!!!!

  • Rudi

    Early morning yesterday I received 3 similar text messages that say “… your cellphone # had won php 950,000.00 2nd prize draw last July 29, … dti permit #3219 pls. call me now i’m atty. RICARDO G. PEREZ. It is simply amazing how someone is able to get my new cell# that holds less than a dozen of contact information. I am a seabased OFW. Was this by random chance or an inside job from the cellphone industry?

  • mr. nobody

    hambog ba ninyo uy!!!!
    ikiha tika ron…

  • mr. nobody

    this is ATTY. AUGUSTO MORY….
    dili ko mailad ninyo titz!!!!

  • jelai

    ohhhhh shetttt same us usual i recieve a text from pgma charity foundation this morning said that my phone# win a 2nd prize p. 950.0000 last oct 14,2008 sent by: armando m. lopez # 09097219361 what a fuck i did refly him through my sms pc account but i’ll never response him to my # because i know that they are fOoling of thousan of people.but my question how we can avoid this advertisement fucker paano kung aatakihin yong receiver kc sa laki p nman ng halaga?

  • kate

    i just received the same kind of message through my phone stating “Congratulations! Ur sim no. had won (Php.650,000.00) Thru PGMA charity foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Pamaskong HAndog! to claim ur prize, Call me now!! Im Atty. Rex C. Mendez frm BSP Info dept Per-DTI #0432 Series of 2008.” from mobile no. 09077011458

    please report that no. to the NTC. it really wont stop!

  • Oneil

    15 Jan. 2009 i received SMS from +639096113995 “CONGRATULATIONS! UR sim no had won! (780,000.00) thru electronic raffle draw last 01/14/09 from PGMA Charity Foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “HANDOG PANGKABUHAYAN” to claim ur prize call me now! i’m Atty. Jade C. Toledo of BSP Info Dpt. per DTI# 0432 series 2009.

    ITO MASASABI KO SAU ATTY. JADE C. TOLEDO, HINDI AKO TANGA PARA MALOLOKO NYO, BAKIT HINDI KAYO ANG TUMAWAG SA AKIN? KUNG TLAGANG ATTY KA DI KA BA NATATAKOT NA MATANGGALAN NG LISENSYA? HMMPPP…..

  • Alvin

    I also received the same text from the number 09268949098. I believe these scammers are rampant because of the hardships the country is facing right now. I hope nobody gets fooled with these bogus texts.

    Just sharing the warning.

    By the way, how were they able to randomize numbers? Just a thought.

  • reynan

    hahaha………….muntik naluko ang ina ko nito kaya ako anak niya sinegurado ko sa internet at nalaman ko text scam pala ito thanks to all of you……katulad din ng mga text nila na nanalo daw and ina ko ng half million tuwang tuwa and ina ko hehehe………..pero ok lang at least hindi kami naging victim sa mga lokong ito na mang pera sa pinaghirapan ng tao….at lolokohin nila…………thanks a lot…………

  • KRYSTEL GRACE GUMBAN LONGNO

    …my mother also received the same txt message ….BUT BECAUSE i wAnt to make sure about it …i tried to check the intertnet andi found out dat its not true>>>>
    thank u veRy much…
    god blesss!!!!!

  • bacolodian

    This morning (March 11, 2009) I received text message ….. Congratulations! Ur sim no. had won php 650,000.00 thru electronic raffle draw last march 10 frm PGMA.Charity Foundationw/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “Handog Pangkabuhayan” to claim ur prize.! pls. call me now!! I’m Atty. Rafael B Chavez frm. BSP info. Dpt Per-DTI#0422 series of 2009: Cell # 09072581130……….. Ambot sa imo Atty Rafael Chavez, R.I.P.

  • chloe

    haha..i also rcv a txt msg dis morning saying “congratulations! ur sim # had won 950000 thru electonic raffe draw fr PGMA charity foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “Handog Pangkabuhayan” to claim ur prize call me now!iM Atty Venus G Ayala frm BSP info.dept. per dti #3920 series of 2009!”

    actually it wasnt my 1st tym to rvc such txt msg lyk dis..harhar..d nyo q malo2ko wid dis hoy!hihi..yngat tau mga pips marami n tlgang mga walang hiyang nambi2ktima nowadays!

    shit!mga scammers fuck off!madlang n lng sa patak ng ulan kau mgka2run ng biktima ngaun!tgilan nyo n yan!hahaha!gasgas na xe mga txt scam nyo!hnd n mgpa2loko mga tao sa inyo!mwala n sana kau sa mundong ‘to!

  • len’

    I jst recieve a messge and I won a Price daw from PGMA Charity foundation,,,haynaku hanggang kelan po kau manloko ng kapwa nio tao….Godbless u…..

  • hrover97

    hayz nakatanggap rin ako ngayon wahaha..
    D/Auditors of PGMA Charity foundation informed u that ur cel# Won P950,000,000 2nd prize winner draw last:Aug/2/09/ call now i’m Atty.Roldan G. Reyes.

    cel # 09092613033

    hirap ng buhay talaga ngayun…. sus…..
    BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE!

  • angelica

    “Congratulations! ur sim no. Had Won (Php.950.000.)Thru electronic Raffle Draw Last August/17/09 Frm:PGMA.Charity Foundation w/ Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas “handog Pangkabuhayan” to claim ur prize.! pls.call ma now!! I’m Atty. CATHY B. MENDEZ Frm: BSP Info.Dept. Per-DTI#0422 Series 2009

    (09098680322)

    i am so Disappointed for this mesg! i thought its true….need ko p nmn for our financial.. they dont even think! im only a student!!!…i hope somebody will fix this….

  • Anonymus

    i just received same shit minutes ago… kala ko nahuli na yang mga scammers na yan kya chineck ko ule buhay pa pala sila..dapat mahuli na yan.. ang bagal naman ng government natin para matapos na yan, pano yung mga walang alam sa ganyan kawawa naman mga inosente!! ang tagal na issue na yan..

  • alee

    I just got a message about an hour ago. It says:

    Welcome to : PCSO Main Office Quezon City. I’m Coordinator Ariel De Ocampo, 4 2nyt PCSO LOTTO DRAW! i’ll give you sure # of ( SUERTES) Call m now! – 09268227865..

    New scheme nanaman nila. the best way to stop this is to file a complaint sa NTC. I checked online and you just have to fill out a form and have it notarized.

  • Louie

    Let’s all do our share and report every incident as much as we can.
    I just received one this morning.

    Cellphone # +63-935-982-5411

    “Congratulations! Ur Sim# Had won 2nd prize Php 980,000.00 thru electronic raffle draw last NOV/23/frm: PGMA Charity foundation w/ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “Maagang Pamaskong Pabonus” To claim Ur Prize Call me now!! I’m Atty. Armando G. Mercado frm BSP INFO Dpt per DTI# 0346 Series of 2009.”

  • Pedro Penduko

    To All The Scammers,

    Send me your names and addresses and I will have you picked up so when I decided to have my home built, you will be part of the home’s FOUNDATION. Eat, Shit and Die, you bastards!!!

  • chstaffs

    I have received the same kind of text message, i think three or four times now and this is the latest one. I just received it this morning from ATTY. JADE TOLEDO Notice: To: Valued simcard owner Subject: ur sim# have won (950,000)php From CF w/BSP 3rd flr bsp bldg manila phil. call me now Im atty.jade c. toledo dti# 456s10….. i called the number and had a talk with this man, and he said i have to send him my complete name and address , my age and then after that they will inform me what to do next and let me decide where i want them to deposit the check, western union, LBC or bank to bank, and warned me not to tell it to others to protect me for it is a big amount. and i said ok they my 5minutes call ended up. Then I texted the number to stop fooling people, for lier will go to hell and quote verse from the Bible Revelation 21:8, all liars will go to hell. then, no reply anymore….

  • chstaffs

    I have received the same kind of text message, i think three or four times now and this is the latest one. I just received it this morning from ATTY. JADE TOLEDO Notice: To: Valued simcard owner Subject: ur sim# have won (950,000)php From CF w/BSP 3rd flr bsp bldg manila phil. call me now Im atty.jade c. toledo dti# 456s10….. i called the number and had a talk with this man, and he said i have to send him my complete name and address,my birthday, age and my occupation, then after that they will inform me what to do next and let me decide where i want them to deposit the check, western union, LBC or bank to bank, and warned me not to tell it to others to protect me for it is a big amount. and i said ok then, my 5minutes call ended up. Then I texted the number to stop fooling people, for liars will go to hell and quote verse from the Bible Revelation 21:8, all liars will go to hell. then, no reply anymore….

  • takuri

    The scammers are alive and well! I also received the same text message:

    Notice: To: Valued simcard owner Subject: ur sim# have won (950,000)php From CF w/BSP 3rd flr bsp bldg manila phil. call me now Im atty.LEO B. DELOS SANTOS dti# 456s10…..

    09292463976

  • Butch

    Hey Guys,

    just received the same text a few minutes ago. it’s from 09296427683. a Guy named MR. ROLAND COZTODIO saying i won Php800,000.00 from this PGMA fund raising crap. i knew about this scam for a long time now. i have been receiving these kinds of text on both my numbers globe and smart. i can’t believe they still don’t quit. does this mean they fool a lot of people by doing this? that’s just sad.

    i tried calling this guy to see how this scam works. but hell, he didn’t answer.

    oh well.

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  • Arnetta Lauritzen

    This is a great challenge to make us more creative this year. Happy NEW YEAR, Fritz. Wishing you more success online and offline.