Investment Scams are Proliferating. Be Careful!

I know I have written already about pyramid scams and cited one case of Emgoldex, which is now under investigation, but since then, so many other clones of pyramid schemes have cropped up.

The latest one being investigated is OneDream Marketing headed by a certain Arnel Gacer who, as of this writing, could not be located by the authorities. Similar to previous pyramid schemes that SEC had warned about, One Dream people allegedly offered investment slots of PhP 888 with an exit or pay-out promise of PhP 1,300 after 4 days. A PhP 1,776 investment slot would result in a pay-out of PhP 2,517.60 and so on. Investors were also promised PhP 44 per investment slot for each recruit or direct referral they bring in.

One Dream's domain is now available again. This is  what I found in cache.

One Dream’s domain is now available again. This is what I found in cache.

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Maguindanao Massacre: Life Gone Cheap

Last Monday, November 23, the entire Philippines then the entire world learned of the heinous massacre of some members of the Mangudadatu clan and accompanying media and friends who were simply on their way to the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Maguindanao.

To-date, the body count is 57 people. Horrific by all standards. We have suddenly been thrust in the global news as being the first country where so many media people (who should, in all wars, be given protection as neutral and unarmed citizens) were slain at the same time and in the same place. Even more horrific was how the women were treated: they were allegedly humiliated via raping and shot or speared in different parts of the face and body.

Even now, I shudder at thoughts of how they all died. For many days after, while I tried to go about my normal business, a very heavy cloud hung over me and I would get teary-eyed while watching the news and seeing shots of the killing fields. I cannot even bear to put a single picture of the dead on this page. Now, I just want to write and let this be an outlet for all the negativity it has generated.

I am outraged, angry, and frustrated. No one deserves to die this way specially when they were not even in battle but were merely exercising their electoral right as Filipino citizens. I value life very much and when life is snuffed out like this under what was an obviously premeditated act (a backhoe belonging to the Province of Maguindanao was found near dugouts which were created even before the party of Mangudadatu set out for the Comelec), there is no other action than to find the mastermind and the doers of these dastardly deeds speedily.

The campaigning for elections has not even began and already we have the blood of innocents spilled for it. How safe will our brothers and sisters in Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines be in the run-up to May 2010? Are we here in Manila even safe?

I join in the call for the Philippine government to act swiftly, transparently and justly to bring the guilty before the courts of law with no special treatment whatsoever. This is not a time for any political favors to be granted. The outrage over the death of so many innocent people has now escalated to an international one and the whole world is watching and waiting to see how this government will deal with the Ampatuans, a clear ally of the present administration, who have been tagged as allegedly being behind the massacre.

We all need to be clearly satisfied that this government will run after all those involved in the massacre and put the full force of the law on them. Nothing less…

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Watch Your Laptops! (New MO by Salisi Gang)

Hubby came home last night. “You have to blog this“, he said. Must be serious, I thought. He normally does not pay any attention to what I blog about.

And it turns out that he did have quite a story to tell. His Indian client’s laptop was stolen by a salisi gang IN THEIR VERY PRESENCE!

Read this and be more aware of your surroundings when you take your laptop outside of home:

Hubby, a lawyer and their Indian client held their meeting at Pancake House on the ground floor of Malayan Plaza (Ortigas Complex) yesterday.



They chose this place since it was close to the lawyer’s office at Discovery Suites. Hubby arrived first and got a table not too close to the door and facing the entrance. Soon after, he was joined by the lawyer and the client whose driver brought in a laptop bag. The client placed his laptop bag on the floor near his feet and sat on the chair situated along the aisle.

They were absorbed in conversation when 2 men from a nearby table passed behind the client. What happened next was related by another diner who saw everything but thought the 2 men were part of hubby’s party.

As both men passed behind the client, one of them used his foot and kicked the bag towards his companion who stooped to pick it up. They made sure that they positioned themselves so that hubby and lawyer, who were in their line of sight, would not see the bag being picked up. They then exited Pancake House in the opposite direction of the diner-witness. As soon as the diner saw them running off with the bag, he realized it was a robbery and alerted the group of hubby. By that time though, the robbers had escaped using a motorcycle parked at the corner street.

Professionally done, smooth, and quick. Too fast for people around to realize what was going on.

To their credit, Pancake House’s management assisted the client in making a formal report of the robbery. But this incident should once again awaken the Pasig police to the rampant robberies in their area. As a yogini who practices at the nearby Strata 100 bldg., I have already heard of several cases (including that of some of my own yogini mates) whose cars’ windshields have been smashed at a nearby GUARDED parking lot and had items stolen from inside. No wonder several patrol cars roam this area at night!!!

This is pretty scary because as a blogger, I lug my laptop around when necessary. The girls also have their laptops that they bring sometimes to school and to nearby cafes and restaurants. How do we protect these?

There are a few realizations I got from this incident:

1. It is harder to steal a laptop that is open, on a table, and plugged to an outlet. It is a lot easier to pick up a laptop inside a bag and just carry it away.

2. Laptop bags are better off placed in a conspicuous place like a table top rather than below on the floor. I used to think that placing it near my feet was safer but apparently it is not.

3. We must always be aware of our surroundings, observe people sitting close by and consider sitting in a place that could deter crime. Sitting close to the exit is not advisable as this makes theft too easy.

4. If we must leave our laptops to go to the comfort room, we should inform our companions to watch the laptop. Only in extreme situations should we ask the waiters/waitresses/cashiers in the restaurant to keep an eye on our things. They cannot be held responsible for these as their primary duties are to the restaurant. If you lose your laptop despite asking them to watch it, they can never be faulted for being negligent.

5. Investing in a laptop lock may be something to consider. Kensington notebook locks are pretty expensive but I hear there are very reasonably priced locks available at CDR King. I have to go check these out to see if these are reliable and get some for me and the kids.

Let’s learn from this new M.O. and find ways to protect our laptops whenever we are in a public area.

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Beware of this M.O. (it happened to me too!)

My officemate sent this email to me today and asked if it was the same M.O. I had recounted to them several weeks back. Reading through the email sent shivers up my spine because it was almost as though I was the one telling the story.

Different place (hers was SM, mine was near my ortho); different amount (he only asked me for a little over P500). Other than that, everything else she recounted was pretty much the same. I could not tell from this lady’s physical description of him if it was the same guy who accosted me though.

This is a real M.O., people — down to the beso-beso (as though I was a long lost friend) and hanging on to my hand as he recounted his sob story.

It’s getting a bit scary that such persons appear to be making the rounds of Makati.

This guy gave himself away to me right away so I was careful and alert with my bag and my ring. In his case, it did not pay to talk too much. He told me that he saw me often going to Mass at Greenbelt Chapel (where he claimed he was a Lay Minister) and also saw me often walking along the streets of Rufino. Welllll….how could that be when I had not been to Greenbelt Chapel in years (I stopped working for many years!) and I only go to Rufino St. for my ortho visits.

Watch out for this guy! Here is the lady’s story:


Please take note of this incident at SM-Makati:

Dear Family and Friends,

This happened to me early this afternoon at Makati SM. Because I wasn’t aware of this new modus operandi, only by the grace of God I did not  become another victim!

I was walking along the ground floor between the supermarket and the  department store when walking toward me was a rather neat looking aged man, all smiles. When he was in front of me he reached out to shake my  hand and at the same time he kissed me on both cheeks! (YAK!) He was  carrying a black Missal and a Bible. Taken by surprise and trying to recall  who he was (I thought he surely must be a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and had now forgotten. I was embarrassed to ask his name!) He started talking almost without a pause saying he had just come from the  Greenbelt Chapel where he had served at their noon Mass. He told me he was now a “full time lay Minister”.  Then he told me “Si Papa may stage 4 cancer” and he wasn’t expected to last throught this night; that right now Monsignor Bacani was sitting with him by his hospital bed and tonight they were planning to take him to the  Archbishop’s Palace for the wake. (I thought – but he isn’t dead yet!)  But they needed money to pay for his final morphine shot and dextrose as he was in much pain.

Could I please lend him P5,000.00? All this time he was holding my right hand. I said I didn’t have any money on me. He then asked for even a few  hundreds just to help. Now finally becoming aware of his intention, I again said I didn’t have money at all. He finally let go of my hand. My 2 rings were still on my fingers! They were a bit tight to put on and to remove.   While this man was talking and looking at me, my eyes were wondering as I am wont to do when I am trying to remember something  – a habit. I sort of try to push my eyes up into my brains to help me  remember!

Later while waiting at the Meralco “Senior Citizens” room I chatted up an elderly lady seated beside me and recounted my experience. She was surprised that I wasn’t aware of this latest scam. Usually the man will stare into his victim’s eyes and manage to hypnotize her to empty her wallet for him. Other instances he makes the hypnotized victim walk to an ATM and withdraw money to hand over to him!

Her aunt had been victimized by what appears to be the same man from our matching descriptions!  He is between 40 and 50 years old, about 5’8″ to  5’10”, neat looking, kayumanggi, carrying a Missal and Bible. He always kisses his victims so people around would not suspect a crime was in progress!

If you are approached (and kissed!) please, do not  look into this man’s  eyes when he is telling his story! It’s only my bad habit of “rolling my eyes” when I am in deep thought that saved me!

Please inform your family and friends so this modus operandi will come to an end!

Thank You.

(identity kept private)


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