Scams in the Philippines?

Before moving to Angeles I had read about many different types of scams in the Philippines so I was expecting a few to be attempted on me.


Lots of them involve girls lying to the police and trying to extort money from foreigners but luckily none of those have happened to me yet.

I’m sure that does happen from time to time, but not as much as some guys on certain expat message boards would like you to believe.

99% Sure this was a Scam

This is the only real scam anyone has tried to pull on me in Asia though.  I was leaving the mall with a big grocery bag and a pizza box.  As I was crossing the street and walking in a straight line another guy crossing the street bumps into me and drops his phone which falls apart.

There was lots of room on the street and not that many people crossing so there was no reason for him to walk so close to me.

Even more than that the main reason I feel this had to be a scam was where his phone hit me.  He was about 2 inches from hitting me in the balls, on the way inside part of my thigh.  There is just no way in that situation a natural movement would have had his hand that far out of his body to make contact with me there.  No other parts of our body really collided.

I even commented to my friend “he almost hit my balls” right after.

Thirty seconds later as we are walking away he runs up to us and says I broke his phone.  I had looked back right after this happened and saw him looking at the phone and just kinda felt this was coming.

I kept walking and said no I didn’t and he followed us.  He followed us for about 5 minutes and I told my friend to just get in a jeepney and go because she was really shook up over it and I wanted to get her out of the situation.  I am basically walking in circles trying to get him to leave and he won’t, and then he starts saying we go police.

At this point I remember that a nearby hotel has a front and back exit, and I know that a Pinoy is not going to be able to follow me inside.  I go in the front door and he waits right at the door.  I can see he isn’t going anywhere so I duck out the back door, run down some side streets and take the long way home watching my back the whole time.

I saw him again on the street 3 weeks later and he started following me again saying I broke his phone.  The only reason I think there is even a 1% chance that this wasn’t a scam is because usually he would give up.

On the other hand even if it wasn’t a scam I did nothing wrong and am not going to pay for his phone for walking in a straight line across the street and him swinging his arm out 2 feet to the side and almost hitting me in the balls.

This time we are near walking street and I know that Dollhouse bar connects to another bar and think that if I go inside Dollhouse I will be able to go through the back.  When I go into Dollhouse I go ask one of the managers how to get to the other bar and she says it’s closed.

I explain the situation to her and that I just want to leave and all she cares about is making a profit so she tells me to get some drinks and wait for him to leave.  Gee thanks for the help.

I go look out the front door and see that he is still there.  There is a bargirl sitting nearby and she can tell I am acting strange and asks me what is going on.

I explain it to her and she looks outside and he is there with a couple of guys.  I tell her I only came in so that I could go out the back door and she shows me the way and once again I run off down some side streets and ditch him.

I had heard of a similar scam in Manila where an older man walked with a bag of rice and bumped into foreigners and then made them pay for it when he dropped it.  He would tell them it cost 5x or 10x what it really cost and sometimes they would pay.  I am almost certain this was the same thing.

Card Game Scam

I think there was another time where someone was trying to pull one on me but I am not certain.  I was walking in Angeles when this trike driver was overly friendly.

He said he would give me a free ride and I said no thanks, then he said his son in law was just opening a new bar and he would get me free dinner and drinks for me and a girl if I wanted to come check it out now.  I again said no thanks, he tried again but I wasn’t going with him.

What I think this was is a somewhat common card game scam they try in Angeles City and other places from time to time.  If I am correct then on our way to this new bar we would have stopped off at his house just for a minute because he needed to pick something up.

While there I would have been talked into playing a poker game with a “rich investor” who was “really bad at cards.”  At some point after I had won a little bit they would have set up the deck where I had a great hand and the “rich investor” would have had better and all my money would have been gone.

Ever since hearing about this I have always wondered what would have happened if you went and won the first few hands and then just folded when the obvious set up hand came and said you “just aren’t feeling lucky on this one.”  I doubt they would have paid you out.

Those are the only scams in the Philippines I’ve dealt with in 3 years, and the second one I am not even sure was really a scam attempt, but after reading a few accounts of the card game scam, and how overly friendly and persistent this trike driver was I am quite sure something was up, even if it wasn’t the card game scam.

Just have some common sense and don’t take things that are too good to be true and you should be ok.

11 Responses

  1. Davo says:

    I once played in a poker tournament in a card house in Angeles City.
    It was owned by an ex pat who even played in the tourney…it was in the middle of the day and they only got two tables of punters playing.. Probably 2/3rds of them Philo and 1/3rd ex pats.
    Do you know if those card houses are legit or scam traps?
    Bad beats happen but I flopped a set with pocket 4’s and then some local dude raised and I went all in. He called and ran out a 4 card straight with his pocket queens..
    It felt kind of suss but it was a legit bar ran by an expat so i’m kind of 50/50 on whether or not I got scammed or not…….the card house was on walking street.
    what do you reckon?

  2. Davo says:

    Do you reckon i got scammed? or just a bad beat?

  3. kick2dante says:

    probably just a bad beat… the ‘card game scam’ that i was referring to wasn’t anything like what you explained

    poker just kinda sucks and runner runner straights are a big reason why hehehe

  4. Tyler Durden says:

    How about the scam where a Pinoy runs into you at the mall and says hi. He introduces himself and explains he saw you at your hotel earlier. He is very friendly and offers to show you around since you are a tourist. He explains the mall is very expensive, but he knows of another place that is much cheaper. The scam is that he has never met you but has already broke the ice saying he met you earlier in the hotel, so you let your guard down a bit and he basically tries every opportunity to get money from you, or even just a free meal.

    This actually happened to me when I first went to PI. The guy negotiated a ‘special’ price for me when I went to buy sandals at his friend’s shoe shop at the market. Ofcourse they were fake and I paid just a bit less than I would for the real one’s in the mall. It’s crazy that someone devotes that much time to try and scam someone, but I guess when you’re desperate you’ll do anything…

  5. kick2dante says:

    ya i think i heard that some even claim to be the security guard for your hotel

    you are right its a lot of work, but if the average filipino makes like $200 a month and he can get a free meal and something like sandals that are $5 thats a good 2 hours of work

  6. jspill says:

    I just say sorry i’m in a hurry and walk away if a guy comes up to me

  7. James P says:

    The “broken phone” sounds like a variation of the “broken rental” scam. The unsuspecting mark rents something, like a jetski or a motorbike, and when you return it the guy accuses you of somehow damaging it and of course his intimidating friends are there..I imagine the broken phone scam could basically turn into a mugging in some situations. Anyway, interesting post thanks!.

  8. Eric says:

    what do you do if a filipina you met on dating site accuses false rape after consensual sex in your apartment?

    • jspill says:

      It’s never happened to me, don’t think there’s any definitive answer to that, but several girls did it to spiritmaze and nothing ended up happening. It’s not something I’d worry unnecessarily about, presumably worst comes to worst you’d get a lawyer / pay a bribe or both. Leave town for a bit if you had advance warning. But most of the time it’d be an empty threat, and extremely rare, unless you treat girls kinda bad (like spiritmaze 😀 ). Most girls are nice.

      • NormalNomad says:

        Let’s keep in mind Spiritmaze is a total fucking prick to everyone, American, English, Filipino, whatever, male, female, etc. He’s just a dick, so I wouldn’t’ be surprised to hear that he had accusations against him.

        He’s also a blow-hard so it’s entirely possible he’s full of shit.

        And another thing to consider is he admits to putting in ridiculous amounts of effort to bang a girl once then dump her. So if you’re taking a girl out on several dates, spending a lot of time and energy on her, and then you finally bang her and it only lasts 1 time, yeah, she’ll probably be upset with you, maybe fake an accusation. Just don’t be an asshole and you’ll be fine.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Got caught in this card scam in Angeles. Cost me around £250.
    Went back to the hose the day I left and put sugar in the jeepney

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