Monday, April 23, 2012

Baciwa Impostors & Other Scams Part I by Han Shrng

Over the years man had made great strides in developing various methods of minimizing and controlling crime, from CCTV cameras to alarm systems, non-lethal weapons, proper tactical training for law enforcement agents, forensics, profiling, high security prisons, etc. While these developments may seem to be a relief for us law-abiding citizens, it is no excuse for us to become complacent and let our guard down as today's world is still a dangerous one. The jungle may have changed but it is still a jungle, only cemented. Predators still stalk for prey. Criminals continuously upgrade their methods and techniques to fool the public. Sun Tzu's art of War, the oldest military treatise in the world, have told us, "Know yourself and your opponent and you will win a hundred battles." This is good advice since the more we know about the modus operandi of criminal elements the less chances we will be off guard and fall for it. In this article, I'll be sharing with you a few of the newer scams that has caught members of the public by surprise. Last April 17, 2012, an unidentified man introduced himself to a househelp as an employee of the Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA). The household had a problem with their water meter. Interestingly this guy showed a BACIWA ID and knew details of this problem which would otherwise be unknown to an outsider. He went on to say that the household lacks P3,000.00 for its water bill. The househelp ended up giving the man P2,500.00 in cash thinking that he was indeed a BACIWA personnel. The man said he will buy a certain part for the water meter. A carpenter of the household was told to accompany the guy. When they were outside Citi Hardware, the unidentified man talked in his cellphone. Ten he instructed the carpenter to go inside Citi hardware and canvass the parts ha he had specified. when the carpenter went out the man was already gone. So what does his tell us? For one an ID can be forged. Whereas before a simple ID was enough to ascertain a person's real identity, criminals have learned to go around this precautionary measure by making their own fake IDs. Please note that BACIWA doesn't have field collectors so NEVER pay to anyone who visits you and claims to be a BACIWA employee. For verifications you may contact BACIWA at telephone nos. 433-4601 or 433-4602. ay your bills at the BACIWA office or to any accredited collecting agents listed at the back of your water bill, among them banks. In that particular case, the unidentified man was riding a motorcycle and was wearing a helmet all throughout his conversation with the househelp. Even when the carpenter was with him he was still wearing his helmet. This tells us that he wants his identity to remain a secret. He might be someone who is known to the household OR he might be someone who can be easily IDied in police records. This was the first red flag. A second red lag was that his motorcycle did not have a plate number. This is another way criminals cover their tracks. They know that their plate numbers can be traced back to them. It was not been verified by this writer but it is obvious that the man have not issued a receipt. Owners of homes should take good note of this incident. I am aware of a few other similar incidents in the past with the same modus operandi. I just don't have he statistics but I am sure that there are other unreported cases. A word of advice to homeowners. Orient your househelps. Most househelps came from rural areas and are not familiar with the ruses that are normally used in the more urbanized areas. Because of their innocence they can easily be made to believe scams. In the cited incident, the househelp had the sense to verify to her boss before paying the man with her own money for the meantime. I'm presuming that she asked for identification. Hence, the man showed one, albeit a fake one. In these situations, knowledge is power. Always orient your househels and even members of your family. Part II will deal with some other forms of scams.

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