A friend got scammed doing prepaid tasks online… this is her story…

A friend got scammed doing prepaid tasks online… this is her story…

Hey there! I have to tell you about this seriously unsettling experience my friend went through over the past month.  It’s quite a cautionary tale that I think everyone should hear.

If you, or a friend you know has been through or has been offered an online sideline job doing small social media tasks like subscribing to Youtube channels and then “merchant tasks” or “prepaid tasks” , stop right now and read through.

It all started when my friend was looking to make some extra cash to cover their bills and expenses. Their salary as the sole provider for their family just wasn’t cutting it. So, on June 7, they stumbled upon this website that claimed to offer remote opportunities. Little did they know what they were about to get into.

The website seemed totally legit, claiming to be a reputable “global e-commerce company” with big-name partners like Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, and eBay. They even had certificates on display to back up their credibility. To make things even more enticing, they said joining their community of “experts” to boost brand ratings was completely free. I mean, who wouldn’t be tempted by that?

Without a second thought, my friend signed up on the platform. The manager explained how they could earn and withdraw money through the platform, specifically by transferring it to their GCash account. The tasks seemed pretty straightforward: just spend a few minutes browsing a specific merchant’s products to boost their rating. And for each task completed, they would receive a 20% commission. The commission rates seemed fair, nothing too crazy. So, my friend got lured right in.

After signing up, they were told they needed to “activate” their account by depositing P120 using the platform. The website claimed that this amount, along with a P30 signup bonus, would be immediately withdrawable once their account was activated. Looking back, they probably should’ve seen this as a red flag, but they brushed it off. I guess P120 didn’t seem like a huge amount, and they thought it was a reasonable fee for activation. They didn’t think much of the broken English on the site either.

Anyway, they managed to withdraw the full amount as promised, even getting an extra P24 for completing the account activation. The manager confirmed the successful withdrawal and asked if the funds had reached their GCash account. Everything seemed fine at that point.

Now that their account was “active,” as the manager put it, they were assigned their first task. The manager explained that each task required an “activation” deposit. Without this deposit, they couldn’t perform the task or receive any commission. They even had a table showing the activation fees and the corresponding commissions for each task.

Task 1: P500 with a P100 commission; task 2: P1500 with a P300 commission, and so on. The manager made it crystal clear that once a task was completed, the money, along with the commission, would be immediately withdrawable to their GCash account. The manager asked if they understood and agreed to these terms. Without any hesitation, my friend said yes, as if some strange force was compelling them to do so.

The first two tasks went smoothly for them and everyone else who thought they were in the same boat. They managed to cash out their earnings without any issues. My friend received P100 for the first task and an extra P300 for the second. It seemed promising.

But then, things took a terrible turn when the third task came along. Suddenly, they were required to deposit P3,000 upfront. Since they had successfully withdrawn money from the previous tasks, nobody questioned the deposit. However, after completing the task, they were hit with the bombshell that task 3 was actually a “double task” with a bunch of sub-tasks within it. That’s when everything went completely haywire.

They were told they had to make additional deposits to “complete” the assigned tasks, or else the system would “confiscate” their money for non-compliance. On top of that, they weren’t allowed to quit halfway through. They had to finish all the tasks, or their money would be gone for good. It was hard to swallow, but since my friend thought they were already halfway through, they felt compelled to continue.

As the situation escalated, they felt like they were losing control of their mind. Despite being angry and determined that they couldn’t afford to continue, the more they communicated with the manager, the more they felt manipulated and controlled. It’s hard to explain, but they found themselves depositing more money into the platform urgently and voluntarily. It made them physically ill, but that didn’t stop them from leaving their house to meet the demands. It was mind-boggling and indescribable. This nightmare lasted for two agonizing days.

My friend reached a point where they had to empty their bank account, borrow money from others, and nearly maxed out their credit card just to meet those demands. The agony and trauma they experienced after regaining control of their mind were beyond imagination. They’re deeply grateful to God for snapping them out of it and bringing back clarity.

Now, when they finally came to their senses, they were just sitting there, staring blankly at the wall. They didn’t even have the energy to shed a tear. Sleep was impossible; whenever they closed their eyes, they saw weird and inexplicable images. It was like nothing they’d ever experienced before. They stayed awake for a grueling 72 hours straight. Only recently did they manage to get some sleep after completing their mission of gathering solid evidence and reporting the incident to the police.

Unfortunately, at the police station, they discovered that other people had also fallen victim to similar fraudsters. These scammers had been getting away with their fraudulent activities for quite some time, and none of them had faced any consequences. They operated under fake identities and even used fraudulent bank accounts. They found loopholes in the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, especially with online account applications like Unionbank.

So, here’s a reminder for everyone out there: trust your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if, by any chance, you find yourself caught up in a similar situation, take control of your mind and immediately reach out to your bank or the payment gateway involved, like GCash.

Thankfully, GCash has a really helpful Help Center. Reporting the incident only takes a few minutes, and they provide quick updates. My friend also wanted to express their gratitude to the amazing folks at GCash who assisted in blocking the conduit account. They know who they are, and my friend will be forever grateful for their support. They’re praying fervently that these fraudsters get caught and face the punishment they deserve.

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