Most Common Online Scams in the Philippines

Most Common Online Scams in the Philippines

With the advent of technology, the internet has also become a haven for crooks and frauds for illegal activities. And as time goes by, online scams are getting more and more devious and inventive. If you aren’t vigilant enough, then you might become a victim.

So here, we’ll share with you some of the most common online scams in the country that you might be or might not be aware of.

Online Shopping Scams

This type of scam is prevalent. Some of us may see this from ads in our social media and they may look legit AF but don’t get fooled. Online Shopping Scams are scammers who are pretending to be legitimate online sellers and some of them may create a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. Some of them may sell items at a suspiciously low price and may ask for your bank account details. Don’t.

How to avoid: Research about the retailer site and always be sure to check the reviews.

Facebook Messenger Scams

Remember the “Jollibee Spinwheelmania” Messenger scam? If you do, then I’m with you. Messenger scams involved suspicious links containing grand announcement that says you won in a competition or if you click the link, you might win a prize or something. You may receive this form of scam message from your family, friends, or colleagues which is why it’s sort of hard to distinguish whether it’s real or not. Chances are they were also fooled and their account was compromised.

Once clicked, some of them may lead you to a site where you’re required to share your personal information or bank account details.

How to avoid: Do not click on suspicious links and if asked for your password or any personal details, don’t give it out. Go straight to the brand’s official channels instead to confirm.

Online Paluwagan Scam

Image source: Interaksyon

Paluwagan is a Filipino money-lending term where a group of people pays the same amount of money, usually a high amount of money, on either a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Think of it as a pool savings account. However, there are a lot of paluwagan scams out there that seem too good to be true. Scammers would post testimonies of random people that say that they’re legit.

Most of the time, scamming happens when you’ve already joined and at first, everything goes out smoothly and once they gained your trust, they’ll vanish into thin air with your money. Rule of thumb here: don’t trust people you just know or see on social media with these kinds of posts.

How to avoid: Do not trust people you just meet online. If you want to invest, go for legitimate financial institutions registered under the SEC or through banks.



Phishing, not to be confused with fishing but is similar to it in a way, is a method of obtaining sensitive information such as account details and credit card details by planting malware in websites, emails, and programs. This malware would then be used to either control your computer remotely or hack into your accounts.

How to avoid: Instead of replying to the email directly try contacting the customer support of the company or brand that the message might be mimicking. Never provide your personal information unless you are sure that whoever you’re dealing with is a trusted company or personnel.


Ever heard of the Sam Morales catfishing story? Well, horrible, isn’t it? For those of you who aren’t aware, catfishing is a form of online deception by creating a fake identity or stealing someone’s identity. This is prevalent, especially on online dating sites/apps. However, this can also be used for financial gain, or to troll someone for his/her own satisfaction or merely for wish fulfillment.

How to avoid: Do a reverse image search, have “intensive” research about the person you’re dealing with, initiate video call/meet up, and trust your instincts!

Email Spoofing

Image source: Agari

Email Spoofing is a type of fabrication that contains an email with a forged email address. Usually, these emails may seem like it came from a well-known company, or from a CEO or staff from a certain renown company. Once you open this fake email, these scammers will ask the recipient to provide personal information like a password or credit card number. They may even ask the recipient to click on a link offering a limited time deal, which we know are mostly link to download and install malware on the recipient’s device.

How to avoid: Never click on misleading links or download unfamiliar attachments.

Lottery Scam

Image source: SIGMA Malta

Before the internet was even famous, lottery scam is already a thing. You know that type of messages you receive, saying you won in a lottery or from PAGCOR but you don’t even remember engaging in one? That’s it. Some may even ask you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize from a competition or lottery you never entered.

How to avoid: If you don’t remember joining in any type of lottery or competition, then just simply ignore the message and don’t reply.

And there you go. Have you been scammed before? Share with us your experience down below. Also, remember to always be careful with your transactions online and trust your gut feeling if you think you’re being scammed.

We’ve also written ways to spot phishing site, and ways to prevent catfishing just in case you’re interested.

Alyza is a Multimedia Producer for YugaTech. You can follow her at @tadboring.

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3 Responses

  1. Greg Ong says:

    Check out Angelos Perfumes they claim to sell authentic perfumes but theyre fake. You wont see any negative comments because they filter them out. I bought 2 perfumes from them so i know. I even wrote a review but it was never published on their website.

  2. Dale says:

    I bought an automatic cat litter box from a website’s facebook ad, it’s 80% cheaper from the prices i see in Lazada and Shopee, I really hope it’s legit, payment is via Paypal so I’m thinking I can dispute the order from Paypal if it’s a scam

  3. Buddy says:

    Home Construction Rip Off

    I had complained to the DTI, but was wondering what else I can do.

    “Joseph Andeza of Andeza Builders agreed to build an abode with a completion date of 17JUN21.

    Soon after signing the contract, he demanded extra money due to his unforeseen expenses.

    Shortly after making this demand, he informed us that he will not complete the project and will keep the remaining funds to offset his expenses.

    He mentioned that since we are locked out of the Philippines in Dubai, there is no further action we can take.”

    Is this true?

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