MANILA – A Filipina based in Japan has come forward to warn other Filipinos abroad about an investment scam being offered on social networking sites.
According to “Sarah,” not her real name, she was duped into believing that the business opportunity, presented to her by a woman who introduced herself as "Princess Polinar Micabalo" from Ozamiz City, was authentic.
Sarah met Micabalo in a group chat from social networking site Reahlity Hartz Hardships or Your Helping Hands Profit Sharing and began to woo her into investing in several opportunities.
“Mahilig po akong tumulong sa mahihirap. Ang kaso lang po, kung tutulong ako ng tutulong, mauubos ang savings ko and ang ganda ng usapan namin na magpapalago kami ng pera. Yung akin, ilalagay ko sa orphanage, siya naman ibibigay niya sa may sakit na hindi makabili ng wheelchair,” Sarah said on DZMM on Tuesday morning.
“March kami nagkakilala and ilang days kaming laging nagcha-chat, nagkakausap, nagvi-video call and then nahikayat akong mag invest. Very true siya kausap…i-invest [ang pera] sa palayan, sa palaisdaan, panagatan, lending and jewelries...nag invest ako."
At first, Sarah said she didn’t doubt Micabalo because she was very transparent to talk to. She recalled that Micabilo even sent her two "valid" identification cards and a contract and also posted her photos online.
Sarah was sweet-talked into investing P180,000 and made to believe that they could double the money. But she did earn something. A month after investing, Sarah received her payout of P225,000.
This prompted her to encourage her Japanese friends to also invest their money into the business. Their pooled investment reached P1.2 million.
But after the money was deposited, she has not heard from Micabalo again. Micabilo's accounts on social networking sites have also been deactivated.
In the end, Sarah still delivered on her financial promise to her friends in Japan.
“Hindi ko na po sinabing naloko ako. Basta kung ano yung promise ko sa kanila, ibinigay ko po. Binayaran ko. Ako kasi ang tumanggap ng pera. Sa Japan, di uso ang contract...yung trust. Matagal na nila akong friend. Trusted na nila ako pagdating sa pera kaya nagbigay sila agad sa akin,” she explained.
It turns out that Sarah was not the only victim of Micabalo.
Sarah said she learned that Micabalo has been scamming people, especially OFWs, for years now. She utilizes different investment names to entice people but uses the same name and photo to transact with would-be victims.
Sarah doesn’t know if she’ll ever get her money back. She said she went public to warn others to be wary of too-good-to-be-true- investment opportunities online.
“Interested po ako na huwag na siyang mambiktima,” she said.
DZMM asked the alleged scammer to air her side by calling the station, but as of posting, she has yet to give her side.