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Pinoy Abroad

PHL-based financial planners warn OFWs against investment scams

Philippine-based financial planners have advised OFWs to refrain from investing in financial ventures that promise "high guaranteed returns" within a short period, even as they encouraged  expatriates to devote time every day to leaning ways in handling finances.

“Don't invest in something they don't understand. Watch out for the red flag of scams having high guaranteed returns with low risk,” Argel Tiburcio advised OFWs in an email interview with GMA News Online.

In a separate online interview, registered financial planner Fitz Gerard Villafuerte said, "Financial education is the key. If the OFW cannot do much aside from his or her chore like the seafarers, my advice usually is to commit to learning, even if it's just 30 minutes a day.

"They have access to the internet, so I give them websites where they can read and learn -- to sacrifice some of their social media time and use it for learning," he added. 

Last August 15, a group of OFWs from Saudi Arabia was lured into investing in the venture of a certain Elpidio Tanaliga Jr.

Three of those tricked to invest were draftsmen Jade Doromal Baes, and Rommel Sanchez who both invested a million pesos; and factory supervisor Joen Palabon who invested half a million pesos.

In past years, schemes to dupe OFWs were reported. One even used the name of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for an online scam.

Another one was an alleged loan program of an agency that protects and promotes the welfare of OFWs and their dependents preying on OFWs in Hong Kong and Macau.

But OFWs can avoid falling for "scams disguised as investments," Tiburcio pointed out.

“Basic financial literacy education is the key. Pinoys should invest on themselves first, attend seminars, read books, and go to workshops, among others,” he said.

Villafuerte also has a practical reminder: OFWs must "Plan their vacations well. When they come back in the Philippines for their holidays, attend financial seminar and/or open investment accounts." —LBG, GMA News