Philippine Postal Service – be careful

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Credit card and postal service theft and fraud in the Philippines.  I’ve had very good luck with postal service in Iloilo City and now in Tigbauan, Iloilo.  When I was corresponding with my wife to be using the Lucena City post office, much of what I sent her disappeared.  Here’s a nightmare account of a foreigner who had his overseas bank mail sent to him through the Philippine Postal Service.  I know others who have had no PhilPost problems but I continue to get my mail from the U.S. (including renewal credit cards, ATM cards, financial statements and so forth) via FedEx which I feel is more secure.  I use www.usabox.com.  See my post on that excellent service.   Here’s the story.

“I had a credit card sent to me through the mail that I never received. Plus I had some other mail come up missing. The people that got my credit card were able to activate the card, convince my credit union to transfer funds from my account to the credit card and were able to charge over 50K (thats dollars and not php). There was another expat at work that had the same thing happen to him. I have my mail sent to the house and he has his sent to work.

The people had the physical card. There is no doubt in my mind that it was done prior to the card ever arriving at my house. In other words it was not my maid. She is not smart enough. Another thing they did was to have the bank change all my contact information. Their contact with my bank was all done by phone.

they also really knew what they were doing as they moved fast and purchased large items at high end stores. They also bought well over a million php worth of Rustons (ed an upscale Philippine retail chain) gift certificates.

The NBI (Philippine National Bureau of Investigation) would not even really investigate it. Of course Rustons also refused to cancel the gift certificates and even told me that they would honor them.

I would never send anything of importance through the mail. maybe some are lucky but I was not.

The funny thing is that I could never explain effectively how it happened. None could understand that a credit card would ever be sent through the regular mail. The police and anyone else kept telling me that someone had to sign for it.”

Comments (14) Write a comment

  1. In other words someone from the Philippines with that accent called the credit union and asked them to transfer 50K? Hmmmm.

    Anyway, did you recover the money? Was it protected by FDIC? Did you get the 50K back?

    This is missing from your story but it begs the question.

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  2. Sorry to read about that. The Police and NBI here are worthless. IF anything needs investigating and especially if it’s credit card transactions don’t count on them for anything. Most cases go unresolved.

    Guys never ever use the Philippine postal service for anything important or sensitive. For Credit cards, checks, documents, etc. Use Fedex, DHL, UPS but for the love of sanity never use the Phil postal service.

    They will open your mail, check for money, even packages are opened and I’ve heard of stories that postal employees just casually open “balikbayan” boxes and take things from there.

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    • Actually, we use the Philippine Postal Service frequently and have fairly good luck since we moved to Tigbauan. We regularly receive books from the U.S.A. and small electronics such as memory chips from Hong Kong. We did order a laptop replacement battery which has gone missing but I’m not ready to blame PhilPost.

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      • Gary,

        My experiences at the Tigbauan Post Office are very positive too. They even text me when I have mail.

        Bob

        Reply

  3. Hi Bob, I’ve had excellent service from a PhilPost office I use at SM City in Ilolilo. Some mail gets to the States in a week (not express mail, either), and cards I have sent usually take up to two weeks, but they always arrive.

    Reply

  4. Pingback: Philippine Postal Service – be careful | Philippines or Bust

  5. Good day!
    My name is Tatiana. Found your biography in the Philippines and is grateful for the excellent analysis and business advice.
    My husband and I came to Eugene to the Philippines that would draw a pension vizu. Son married a Filipino he has 3 children and we want to live next to but not dependent on his family.
    Wai advice is so real, that we first used them on registration visa just did everything with the understanding. Now we’re going, until the visa for 16 months, and then see how things go.
    I do not know if we can just settle down …. 6 times I was in the Philippines and I still like it. Our trouble is that my husband and I know the bad language. Thanks again for your help. all the best. Tatiana

    Reply

  6. This corrupt practice in Philippine Postal has been going on for decades. I remember back in 1991, my father works in the United States and some of the cassette tape messages never reached us. Those post office staff probably thought the envelop contains a wad of cash or something valuable because it’s thick.

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  7. I had a similar problem with Quezon City Post Office. I mailed a sympathy card with 2 checks for my sister’s family that’s lost a loved one. The card was never received. I was shocked to learned about it.

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  8. Natie,

    I have a real soft spot for the Iloilo post office. One time I went to the Iloilo central post office, the one in the customs house on the river. I had some packages and other things on my mind. The upshot is that I left my wallet (with P8000, credit cards, all my ID etc.) on the counter and left to take pictures in the area. Suddenly I realized, with that sinking feeling, that my wallet was missing. I thought I had been pick-pocketed. I retraced my steps to the post office, not expecting much. The guard immediately recognized me and handed me my wallet — nothing missing! This sort of thing has happened to me so many times on Iloilo — that’s why I like living in Ilonggo-land (and feel guilty about saying anything bad about the post office).

    Bob

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  9. John,

    The person who was scammed says that his credit card needed to be “activated”. That’s the usual procedure. Evidently the scammers were able to activate the card. Even more amazing was their being able to convince his credit union to transfer money to his credit card — enough so that the were able to charge $50,000. I think he should have recourse to his bank/credit card companies. Typically, in the U.S. you’re protected from fraud if you monitor your accounts and promptly report suspicious activity to the bank.

    I don’t know all the details about how this instance of fraud worked, but the fact is that there are hundreds of millions, perhaps billions in fraud each year. My opinion is that having credit cards, ATM cards, bank statements, and other financial documents sent through the Philippine Postal Service is just not prudent.

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  10. i never use our Postal Service (disservice…) takes too long and it’s not reliable. there are much better private postal services one can use. one Pinoy co. is Johnny Air Cargo (office in Mandurriao in Iloilo)…in my more than 10 years of sending boxes, small packages, sometimes money, not a thing goes missing–even the wrapping is 100% intact. sometimes, package or mail even gets to my sister a day or 2 earlier than scheduled date of receipt..

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  11. I am a Canadian living in Austria (Europe) and my new credit card comes in the mail, unregistered. When I receive it I must phone the card company and identify myself (password, birthdate, etc.) to activate it. I’m surprised that yours came “ready-to-use” in the mail. Maybe try going after the bank as they mailed it to you in an unsecure manner.

    Reply

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