I got DUPED today!

I pride myself in being able to spot a scam a mile away. I have never fallen victim to those calls that tell you have won a vacation, but have to pay just a little a month, which is nothing compared to all this great vacation you won. Right! Nor have I ever been duped by the Ethiopian banker who wants your bank account to transfer a thousand million dollars into. False password requests, bank letters, bring it on, you can’t fool me. I can see a liar a mile away, right through the fake smile, and unbeatable offer.But,  today I got reeled in. They failed to hook me completely,  but they reeled me in nicely. Here’s what happened:

This morning I get a call from a man saying he is from Mas Movil, and that I won prizes. There was another man speaking in Spanish, in an enthusiastic-radio-announcer voice. There were all kinds of sounds in the background, which seemed like many people talking, which I took to be phone calls. Their presentation was great. They told me I won a car, and cash and would have to go to their office with my passport and a copy of my Mas Movil contract to collect. The Spanish man would speak, and then an English speaking man would come on and translate for my benefit.
I was half believing them.  They stayed on the line, passing the phone from one person to the other. They said they wanted me to say something about how happy I was, so that they could record it for their promotions. The English speaking man kept saying how happy he was for me, and how lucky I was today. I was getting more and more reeled in.

Then they told me I had to go out right now and buy some phone cards. WHY? I asked. They told me it was for the sake of the promotion. They would stay with me on the phone and record the whole thing. ‘What the heck’, I thought. This is Panama, they do things differently. I did it. I went to El Rey and bought phone cards. Then they tell me, I have a chance to win $70,000 dollars. All I have to do is scratch the phone cards, tell them the numbers and see if the numbers match their winning numbers.

Riiiiiight! At this point I clicked in.

There are no cars, no cash, there isn’t even going to be a free phone card out of this deal. Not for me, anyway. And not for them either.

I had been on the phone with them for over an hour. Later, Vicente called Mas Movil, who let us know there was no such promotion, and gave us a number to report the scammers.

I like finding opportunities in bad situations. So, tomorrow at the Expat West event, there will be unscheduled phone cards to be won. Watch for it!