These past few weeks though, there are two issues that have been making the rounds. One of them is the sudden rise of incidence of scamming; the other one is food poisoning which I may write about later. I remember a week ago, a relatively young woman was nabbed by authorities for scamming P500 million from unsuspecting families by saying that the investment is backed by the Parañaque City government. Just last night, GMA reported a "paluwagan" system that turned out to be a scam.
Scams have been really prevalent lately. I'm not gonna discuss how they are done. There are lots of papers as well as news articles about scamming people. Deehan1914 gives us a decent look at the history of one of the most profitable scam tactics out there.
What I am gonna do is ask a question. Why do we Filipinos love getting scammed? I mean, it sure looks like it.
Thinkpesos tried to answer this question but I found it lacking. Greed and gaining easy money are connected. And as the article mentioned, greed is pretty much human nature. I mean, who wouldn't want easy money? Who wouldn't want to double their investments in a month's time?
These attitudes are inherent to every human being no matter what people say. The problem with these attitudes is that they usually take over without proper education.
Thinkpesos.com nailed it on the head when it listed the lack of education as the main reason why Filipinos get scammed a lot. I imagine that you, the reader, at least finished high school. Now ask yourself, how many times was financial literacy tackled in your class? Compare that to the number of times you had to determine the past participle of a verb or the value of x in a function. I wouldn't be surprised if banking and finance was not even tackled your whole high school life. I mean my school never thought to mention how important it is.
I'm not discarding the importance of algebra or grammar. But why did I have to take up a class in college to get a glimpse of how to manage my money?
I know some of you may be thinking it's so easy to search the internet for reviews before entering anything. The SEC provides a checklist of what to look for when looking at an investment opportunity. But would the normal, casual Filipino know about this stuff?
We Filipinos are not really good at investing. I mean look at our GDP. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas recently released a news article stating the lack of financial literacy in the country. We love to save and are not as hot-wired to consume as Americans who are more susceptible to max out credit limits. But we are not as knowledgeable when it comes to saving efficiently.
The question of "why do we love to get scammed?" may be answered easily. It's because we don't know any better. Sure, it is important for individuals to start looking for resources to read. But why don't we just instill it in basic education? We're adding two years to basic education with K-12 anyway, right?
Basic education is the ideal place to start building the groundwork of a financially literate population. A large chunk of the population goes through it and I think that if you have money to invest, you at least finished high school unless if you are a blue collar OFW which is a major target of scammers.
Scammers usually target OFW's because compared to us who work in the country, they have more money. And another major reason for being targeted is the fact that a lot of OFW's never studied in college and had the chance to take up Banking 101. Or maybe they did finish college but their course did not call for the study of the banking sector. They also don't have much time to be here and the sense of urgency in taking advantage of an opportunity is a bread n' butter of scammers.
Scams in the news today may lead one to think that only idiots get themselves in these messes. But who’s to say who’s an idiot? I mean we willingly spend a hundred pesos for a cup of coffee at Starbucks and they’re the idiots?
Everybody at some point will get scammed in some way. But by focusing on finance in basic education, maybe Filipinos won’t love getting scammed as much.