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Foreigners, you're probably getting scammed (P1) (Manila)

I am alarmed at the posts and replies on this platform that shows how vulnerable and gullible most foreigners are. There are so many con artists in this platform. I’m surprised at how poorly regulated members are. While it pains me to write this article, I feel that it is necessary to remind everyone about some sad facts about the Philippines:

Financial Investments and Con Artists - Be wary of investing in small businesses here that can’t secure bank financing. Our banking system heavily depends on loans, and it’s not hard to secure one if you’re a credible person. The mere fact that loan-hungry banks won’t even give someone a loan is a major red flag. Don’t even consider dealing with a person who doesn’t own a credit card.

“Financial Advisors” are so abundant in this platform, but a Credible Financial Advisors won’t ask you to pay them up-front, and they rarely aren’t representing a famous company here. They certainly won’t make you invest in businesses with highfalutin claims of investment credibility without any real and traceable notoriety. They will show you their skills before they discuss their fees. And I’m not talking about showing proof of their past projects – that’s easy, anyone can fabricate facts. I’m talking about people who will actually give you sound advise or give you a sample of their skills without asking first for a fee. People with good minds don’t run out of ideas. They happily share what they know because their intellect isn’t confined to a limited capacity. Plus, companies here encourage their advisors to show their skill to gain your trust.

We have a lot of Fly-By-Night Financial Advisors here as well, which will really be harmful for you in the long run especially if you are investing in a “long term investment”.

Credible Financial Advisors won’t invite you to Starbucks, but would rather treat you to a fancy meal or invite you to their office. If they do invite you to coffee, it would be in an exclusive club (like Tower Club or Palms), fancy restaurant, or 5-star hotel cafes. They have budget after all, or would happily invest their own money in a customer. They would never let you pay the bill - especially the first bill, and you shouldn’t argue with them about this. If they are credible enough to give you financial advise, they should be financially secure enough to pay for the meal you share with them.

Anyone who claims to have the capacity to help you should have some level of credibility in whatever field they're offering to help you with. Employment record will tell you everything. Do not hesitate to ask for a copy of their CV and do a background check! An honest person doesn’t have anything to hide. Go so far as to call the office of the person you’re dealing with.

Make sure that licenses shown to you as proof can be double-checked in the relevant offices that issued it.

When you’re still in doubt but are a willing investor, DO NOT PAY IN FULL. You will be paying interest rates but you can always convert your payment option once you’re convinced of the credibility of your investment.

When making any investment here, talk to a bank first and get their idea. Banks here are normally the first to catch whiff of the latest financial scams and opportunities. Bank Managers will be happy to give you advise and you won’t even have to pay them or open an account. Of course they will try to persuade you to bank with them, but that’s all on you. However, we do have some cases of Bank-Manager related cons but this holds true for other countries, and since banks are covered by insurance companies, you are covered up to a certain amount. But if it’s a personal investment to a bank manager outside of regular banking transactions, then surely you aren’t covered. So just make sure to do your research.

Many con artist here would go so far as to bring you to a warehouse full of products, or show you famous products to back-up their con. They rarely give you samples though. Credible companies invest in their clients will happily give you samples of their products if they are interested in getting you on board.

Marketing materials and presentations should be professionally done. The presentations should be backed up by expected ROI’s and a thorough explanation on how they plan to achieve this. If the person giving you a presentation isn’t showing you a polished, well-researched and intelligent presentation, chances are, you’re dealing with a con artist or it's a really bad investment.

Presentations here don’t get shown to clients without going through some level of checking. Bigger companies would have several people going through a presentation and rigorous research before it becomes client-ready.

I must note that we’ve become a cesspool for foreign con artists as well. These are people conning both foreigners and Filipinos. Continued P2.

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