Online scam victims are a common topic of conversation recently. For the most part, they are just nameless individuals who are weak and ignorant, according to the statistics. At times, are even refer as stupid, gullible, naive people and are easy targets. We’ve only heard a portion of their narrative, such as how they lost a significant amount of their hard-earned cash.
Do we feel sympathy for them? Sure, without a doubt. Are we emphatic towards them? Definitely not.
I used to be that way, and the truth is that I’ve experienced a number of frauds, including my own experiences with identity theft and card cloning. After that, I exercised extreme caution in a variety of situations.
If you noticed (maybe not) I became less active online. My hiatus was caused by being an online scam victim. An experience that took a toll on me. I had always thought that my vigilance and awareness would enable me to identify potential victims and perhaps act before they become actual ones. The best of me, though, was overcome by a lapse in good judgment.
All of this took place at a time when everyone was eager to adapt to the new normal, play catch-up, and stay occupied.
Adapting to the new normal
My life, like the lives of many others, was disturbed and placed on hold when the pandemic lockdown was enacted. My participation in the Philippines’ once-busy and dynamic world of events and blogging came to an abrupt end, and everything seemed to be out of function indefinitely. I was in a constant state of limbo as time went on because normalcy was so unattainable.
My work, interests, and social relationships all flourished before the pandemic. I had a distinct viewpoint, a creative spirit, and a burning desire to leave my mark on the world. But when my life was interrupted, my forward progress was abruptly stopped.
As months turned into years of the pandemic lockdown, I witnessed a ballooning of competition in various aspects of my life. Many people had turned to online platforms and digital spaces, using them as a means to showcase their talents, skills, and aspirations. The virtual landscape became flooded with individuals seeking recognition (Tiktokers, influencers), making it even more challenging for me to stand out.
Yet, it was not just the heightened competition that posed a challenge for me. The prolonged isolation and limited opportunities to engage with the world outside had taken a toll on my spirit. The once burning desire to go out and conquer new territories had diminished, replaced by a sense of trepidation and a loss of confidence.
I longed for the days when I could freely roam the streets, explore new places, meet new people, and immerse myself in the vibrant energy of the world. But the lingering effects of the pandemic made every step outside a cautious one, filled with anxiety and uncertainty.
There was, however, a spark of optimism still present in my heart. I was confident that despite the difficulties and setbacks, I had the inner fortitude and courage to move forward. I understood that the world had changed, and I needed to adapt and find new ways to express myself and pursue my passions. With my reinvention and adaptation, I was able to publish my first book.
You know what? Even though I wasn’t totally sure where I was headed, things were starting to look up. I realized that I had opportunities to grow, learn, and make an impact in a world that was trying to heal itself. Every tiny step I took made me crave to reclaim my spot in the world even more.
It was challenging because during the lockdown, several bridges burned, and because I still felt burned out, I made no effort to repair any of them. I am aware that we all experienced pain during the lockdown, and we must all maintain our peace in order to maintain our sanity.
I had this lightbulb moment! Even if life changed, I could still choose my path and redefine success. Plus, I’ve got all the guts, flexibility, and that unshakable spirit to take on any obstacles and reclaim my spot!
The Online Scam Victim Ordeal
With all the crazy uncertainties of my new normal, I decided it was time to shake things up and try something totally fresh!
I’m super excited about this, let me tell you! My whole life, I’ve been aiming to gain financial control and build a stable future. I was convinced that taking up some part-time online jobs, ones that wouldn’t interfere with my current activities could be the key to achieving my financial goals. So, with that determination, I set off on this awesome adventure to explore ways to increase my earnings! Let’s rock this money-making journey!
You wouldn’t believe the emotional rollercoaster I went through as an online scam victim! It was a mind-blowing experience, full of ups and downs that left me speechless!
I was just casually scrolling through social media, minding my own business, when out of nowhere, this “work from anywhere, no interference with your current job” opportunity popped up. It promised crazy good returns with hardly any effort, and the testimonials were so darn convincing! I mean, who wouldn’t be tempted by such an idea, right? It sounded too good to pass up!
Considering that I’ve always been wary of internet fraud since I’ve been a victim of identity theft and card cloning in the past, there was something about this prospect that stood out. It seemed harmless as it won’t interfere with my current work situation. So why not give it a try? I had the uneasy sensation that if I let this opportunity pass, I would regret it. So, against my better judgment, I made the decision to take a risk, fingers crossed.
You won’t believe how fast it happened! That part-time gig suddenly turned into a full-time investment gig! And guess what? I actually shelled out a whopping million pesos! Crazy, right? But hey, it wasn’t like it happened overnight. It all built up gradually!
It was like I was under some hypnotic spell, totally lost in a trance I couldn’t snap out of. All I could think about was making more and more money, not realizing that I was slowly draining myself dry in the process.
It was pretty small and harmless at first. I didn’t have any doubts because I had done some tasks before and cashed out successfully. But then, out of the blue, they dropped a bombshell on me – a “double task” with a bunch of subtasks! That’s when things went absolutely crazy and chaotic.
So, there we were a small group working together to tackle this mission. But then things got weird – they kept pushing us to make more deposits to “complete” our tasks, or else they threatened to “confiscate” our money. And get this, once you started, there was no backing out! It was like, either cough up more cash if you couldn’t finish the task, or say goodbye to your money forever.
Now that I think of it, I think most of those in the group, especially those fearless ones putting in bigger money easily are all part of the scam.
Even though it was hard to stomach, I felt this weird obligation to keep going. I was already halfway in, and all I wanted was to get my money back. But deep down, I knew I had become something I didn’t want to be – an online scam victim. It was a tough pill to swallow.
Man, things spiraled out of control really fast! It’s hard to put into words, but even though I was angry and knew I couldn’t afford to keep going, I found myself willingly depositing more money into the platform. It’s like I couldn’t stop myself, even though I was fully aware of the consequences.
And get this, I kept talking to the receptionist and manager, even though deep down, I was sickened by the whole situation. It felt like a never-ending nightmare, day after day of pure agony.
It’s crazy to think about but to meet those crazy demands, I had to go all out – emptied my bank account, borrowed money from friends, and practically maxed out my credit card. It was like I was stuck in this never-ending nightmare! While doing all this I was thinking I just need to finish this one last task and get my money back. I just want my money back.
The worst part is when I finally snapped out of it. It hit me like a punch to the gut, and I felt so betrayed and stupid for falling for it.
Why online scam victims keep mask on
Just a few days ago, I saw in the news a man who was interviewed with his identity concealed and he had the same experience as I had.
I went reaching out to friends asking for help, maybe trace where these scammers are from, or maybe have their bank account frozen. This is where I found two other friends who have fallen victim to investment scams online and almost a similar part-time online job scam.
One of them bravely shared her story on her Facebook but she requested for me to keep her anonymous as she only shared her horrific story with her friends. I was shocked to learn that her story was an almost similar scheme to what I’ve been through.
Another friend who lost a million in an online investment scam didn’t elaborate much about his story but here is a screenshot of our brief conversation about it as well.
We all agree that the aftermath was even worse than the financial loss, we were all a wreck. We all felt ashamed and couldn’t believe how easily we had been deceived.
Each one of us has criticized ourselves for not being more vigilant. It was difficult to accept, and the regret and self-doubt lingered, causing us to question our capacity to make sound financial decisions in the future.
Expressing this story and recalling what happened still triggers me, leaving me feeling deeply upset, disturbed, and ashamed. It’s as if those emotions from the past come rushing back, and I find it challenging to dispel the overwhelming feelings of anger and frustration! I can’t stop thinking of the people talking behind my back and all the haters having a feast. It took time for me to hit publish and submit this article.
The Take Away
The aftermath was even worse than the financial loss. Emotionally, I was a wreck. I felt ashamed and couldn’t believe how easily I had been deceived. I beat myself up for not being more vigilant. It was a tough pill to swallow, and I couldn’t shake off the regret and self-doubt. It really made me question my ability to make sound financial decisions ever again.
Let me just say, though, that I had to learn my lesson the hard way and still suffering the aftermath. Admitting this publicly I don’t know how a lot of people will react, but for me, it is sort of a release.
I have an intense urge to share my story with everyone and be the spokesperson for online scam victims whom people have labeled stupid and rash. I want everyone to know we are humans who just wanted to make our life better like the rest of us. Yes, we made a bad call and definitely, it was a big lapse in our judgment. We were jaded and I couldn’t emphasize that more.
One of my goals in sharing this experience is for awareness but honestly, this is a scream for help and more protection to online scam victims. That the perpetrators get punished real bad and we get our money back if not all just even some of it. Instead of the victims suffering and getting persecuted more the scammers face the consequences of their actions.
It is not only money they took from people they scam, they shattered dreams, crushed our self-confidence, and devastated our financial situation! None of the culprits are ever caught and so the cycle continues with a different M.O.
If there is anyone out there who can offer assistance to us, please help. We have evidence ready, and we are prepared to take action!
One of the lessons I learned from this experience is realizing why online scam victims more often than not decide to just frequently opt to remain silent. The feeling of loss is too much. They feel lost and bewildered, unsure of where to seek help, and they certainly don’t want to encounter any more judgment. The last thing they need is to be shamed/bashed for falling victim to a scam. The loss itself is already devastating, and sharing their experience can make them feel victimized all over again.
OO na tanga na kami, wag mo na idikdik pa sa utak namin yan, alam namin, kami na itong nagsuffer eh. Oo na hanggang may nagpapaloko may manloloko. (YES, we’re stupid, don’t put more stress about that in our heads, we know, we’ve already suffered. Yes, as long as someone gets swindled, there will be swindlers.) Victim shaming, instead of blaming the culprits and making the culprit pay, the victim pays for all the consequences.
Trust me, nobody wishes for this kind of experience to happen to them. It’s a difficult situation to be in, and what they truly require is understanding and support.
Despite facing a substantial loss, I have to move on. I am a single mom of a daughter with autism, I had to be strong for her. Everything in my life is a challenge I have to face head-on including this one. Right now, I am still in the process of recovering from my costly mistake.
Following three years of residing in my pandemic condo and all the good and bad that came with it, I finally reached a decision to move out. It was time for a fresh start. Moving to a new environment kickstarted a fresh chapter in my life.
Currently, I am embarking on another venture, but this time, I am approaching it with caution and prudence. Unlike my reckless self before falling victim to the online scam shenanigan, I am starting slowly and steadily. Having gone through the painful setback of being an online scam victim, I have learned valuable lessons, and I now proceed with greater wisdom.
Presenting, Earth Cafe Home Coffee Shop !
With the remaining funds I have, I made the decision to establish a home coffee shop that caters to my neighbors in the condo. I have regular customers now who order my customer favorite Flat white and Java Chip Ice blended Frappucino. It’s not much yet but I am getting the hang of it. Getting an order is always a great feeling. The main goal is to have a physical Earth Cafe Pet Cafe shop but for now, I have plans to expand my experience and reach by participating in local food hubs, events, bazaars, and pop-up shops.
A sale is an incredibly gratifying experience. Having repeat customers is a boost to my confidence as a business owner. I can feel my confidence returning, I am eager to share more about this phase of my journey probably by the next writing challenge, I have a happier and more successful story to share. Wish me the best of luck.
Meanwhile, I want to take this opportunity to thank all my friends who was there in my darkest times. You know who you are and I will never forget your kindness. In time I will be able to return the favor and more. God bless your kind souls.
I extend my gratitude to everyone who has read through my lengthy ordeal. I hope you learned something valuable.
Stay gorgeous everyone, regardless of the challenges you may face.
This story is an entry to COMCO Mundo’s “UNMASKED: The COMCO Mundo Write to Ignite Season 3”. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities. “UNMASKED” aims to explore how each mask is a person brimming with hope and wonders to share with others, as well as why it is important to tell their inspiring journeys in life. The “Write to Ignite” Season 3 is made possible by COMCO Mundo League of Enterprises, with Airasia, Babyflo, PHILUSA Corporation, Century Tuna, Licealiz, Lamoiyan Corporation, Rémy Martin, and Uratex Monoblock as brand partners.