VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palawan Express cash giveaways FAKE

A Facebook (FB) account spuriously using the name of outreach organization GMA Kapuso Foundation and a pawnshop has been tricking thousands of social media users into joining a sham giveaway.

In an email to VERA Files Fact Check, the Palawan Pawnshop Group—the name and photo of which is being misused by the scammer—has denied that it is connected to any raffle offering P30,000 to 50 people and P50,000 to 100 people in exchange for load or any other product.

Pinapaalalahanan po namin ang lahat na magingat sa mga kumakalat na text at online scam, ito po ay mahigpit naming tinututulan. Maging mapanuri po sa mga natatanggap ng mensahe at tawag,” said Kylie Santos, a customer care representative of the company.

(We advise everyone to be careful with viral texts and online scams, we strongly oppose this. Be wary with the texts and messages you receive).

The pawnshop and money remittance group also reminded the public that they only post their promos and announcements on their official Facebook page.

To convince FB users that its posts are true, the impostor, Gma S Kapúsó Poundàtión, uploaded a graphic originally posted by the true Palawan Express FB page for its 12.12 or December 12, 2020 online contest. It was accompanied by a photo showing several wads of P1,000 bills, and a list of people who have supposedly won a P50,000 cash prize in the past.

Gma S Kapúsó Poundàtión’s mechanics for its fake giveaway share similarities with other scams debunked by VERA Files in the past. It asked users to write the word “ME” 30 times, and to share it across five to 10 FB groups. It also asked FB users to like and message another page pretending to be a merged account of Palawan Express and GMA Kapuso Foundation.

VERA Files has flagged 11 of these bogus “Kapuso” and “Palawan Express” raffles, 10 of which were posted in a span of 8 minutes on April 11. The fake posts have collectively accumulated over 1,700 reactions, 14,000 comments, and 1,900 shares.

Scam posts with the same modus operandi authored by another Facebook account have been taken down as of April 12 morning.

The bogus “Palawan Express” giveaway appeared a week after the government began distributing supplemental cash aid to low-income families worth P1,000 to P4,000 in areas affected by the enhanced community quarantine imposed in NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal) in late March to early April.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)