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Wahana Scam

A churchmate gently nudged me in the middle of a service recently to show a note she hastily scribbled on a piece of paper: “Bro, scam ba ang Wahana? (Bro, is Wahana a scam?).

I responded with a quizzical look, unable to utter an immediate answer, as I had no idea on the matter she was asking me about.

It was only when she whispered that it was an entity allegedly involved in lending cash to casino players that I finally got wind of the fact that my friend may have fallen prey to unscrupulous individuals robbing unwitting victims of their hard-earned cash.

Being an employee of a state-run gaming firm for more than 15 years now, I know that loan sharks operate discreetly in various gaming establishments as they are not legally permitted to conduct their trade inside the casinos.

It was the first time, though, that I heard of a group, which appears to be an organized lending firm carrying out their business in the casinos, enticing unsuspecting victims to invest some cash, with the promise of gaining as much as 30 percent interest in a short span of time.

With some googling, I was overwhelmed with a series of reports about local authorities warning the public against dealing with Wahana as early as last year.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has actually been hot on the trail of the other people behind this investment scam since putting at least two suspects behind bars. It surprises me then that the group was still able to go on with their swindling business, and in this case, adding my friend and several other churchmates to their growing list of victims.

The Wahana group reportedly pays their investors the promised interest in the first few phases of their transaction, but vanishes into thin air once the victims put in more cash in the hope of earning bigger gains.

I don’t want to blame the victims for being too trusting, but I hope their sad fate would serve as a huge reminder for others to think twice about infusing money on too-good-to-be-true investment promises or on various get-rich-quick schemes.

Scammers feed on the innocence of individuals who easily get sweet-talked.

Beware!

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