Public warned of spam messages threatening them with ‘made-up cases’

September 1, 2022 - 1:33 PM
Smartphone user
Image by Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

The public is asked to be extra vigilant about scam messages that threaten them with “made-up cases” amid the recent rise in spam text messages.

Facebook user Paulus Ruaya, a lawyer, on Tuesday commented that texts or e-mail scams “have gotten so bad” that spammers are now reportedly scaring people with fabricated lawsuits.

He shared that his fiancée’s mother received an e-mail informing her of a supposed “legal case filed” against her. The email added that the mother needs to appear in a “court hearing” or else she will be “arrested.”

The fiancée’s mother was also being accused of “small claims – estafa.”

Estafa or swindling is punishable by law in the Philippines. This act is when a person defrauds another individual by unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence, deceit, or by fraudulent means.

Examples of estafa include misappropriating or converting goods or property of another, issuing unfunded or postdated checks and inducing another by means of deceit to sign any document, among others.

Ruaya noted some of the errors and loopholes he found in the spam message with the made-up case. These are:

  • There’s no such thing as small claims estafa;
  • The grammar is really horrible;
  • If it’s a criminal case, the case title would be People v. (Name of the Accused) and if a pending investigation before the Prosecutor, it’s (Private Complainant) v. (Accused);
  • The case number is na sa Court of Appeals na. If Prosecutor level is NPS pa magsugod sa number, di CA [Court of Appeals];
  • No prosecutor would ever try to contact you to demand you to contact them, and;
  • The law they cited has nothing to do with estafa

He also attached a screengrab of the fake message for public awareness.

“Please warn your family members,” Ruaya said.

Another Facebook user, privacy, data protection and cyber lawyer Ariel Malimas, also wrote that the case cannot be tagged as “small claims” since “ADRA is a criminal offense, not a civil collection suit.”

ADRA refers to the mentioned Access Device Regulation Act in the scam message.

Ruaya later said that he received a message informing him that those kinds of messages “are actually ploys from Lending Apps in order to strongarm their victims into paying.”

“If this is true, please avoid downloading these applications that request access to your contacts and camera,” he commented, attaching a screengrab of the supposed warning.

The warning comes amid the recent surge in spam texts, with others airing concerns about the appearance of their full names in the messages despite not using any mobile apps.

RELATED: SMS scam level up? Spam text messages now bear full names of mobile users