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Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

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12 posts
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Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

Hello all,

Don't mean to alarm anyone but just be aware that there is a syndicate in the Philippines that operate as a "couple" or "family." They make friends with tourists inside a jeepney, the museum,

or other spots. They show you photos of their children and grandchildren.They treat you to lunch and they are so warm and nice that they are able to convince tourists to go to their house

and/or on an out of town trip. They have a little party and then give you a drink laced with 'ativan.' The next thing you know you are all alone in the room the next day, completely disoriented and with your valuables missing.

A friend of mine was victimized last year. They left her camera with her but erased all the incriminating photos.

Thanks to a software program the photos were recovered and this helped her embassy and the local police in their investigation.

Some members of the syndicate were arrested last year but since I heard of others who experienced this scam recently,

I thought it best to revive this warning.

Safe travels everyone!

FYI I also posted this on the Lonely Planet forum

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
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11,073 posts
2,067 reviews
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1. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

No tourist should ever accept an invitation to go to a 'home' for a game of poker either. Invariably, the tourist loses. That's when things can turn nasty.

Of course the number of visitors hit by these scams is low, but ideally it should be nil.

What a shame that all do not enjoy the many safe trips that I have been fortuinate enough to have to the land of 7,107 islands.

Edited: 26 June 2011, 12:50
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Kuala Lumpur
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24,062 posts
1,846 reviews
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2. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

I agree with VL. I would certainly not go with any strangers and unfortunately would be very suspicious of anyone approaching me to make 'friends'.

There have been stories in the past where tourists have been drugged and who knows what the consequences would be.


Bulacan Philippines
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36 posts
9 reviews
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3. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

I don't know about "friendly families".

I've heard stories of some male foreign tourists get scammed by "friendly, pretty" young girls who want to make friends.

Then he gets tricked and gets his softdrink/alcohol drugged when they're having some snacks.

Luzon, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Bandar Seri Begawan
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18,091 posts
251 reviews
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4. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

Don't go to a party or house of a stranger. Betteryet, don't do anything that you would not dare to do in your own country.

San Jose, California
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345 posts
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5. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

I would never second guess anyone inviting me to their home after just meeting them that they had nothing but good intentions......in my own country!

However, I wouldn't dare in the Philippines.

Destination Expert
for Manila
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3,534 posts
133 reviews
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6. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

Do not accept invitations to funerals either. It is traditional to gamble in front of the coffin until the burial.

Always make an excuse not to go even for one drink...

7. Re: Nice Family Scam/Ativan Gang

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