Traveling to the Philippines to Meet Someone: Safety Checklist
Traveling always requires some planning, but there are many more reasons why traveling for love to the Philippines should be carefully planned and safety measures taken very seriously, especially if you are meeting face to face for the first time. Make no mistake, serious crime occurs on a regular basis in the Philippines, and if you’re communicating with a criminal, the last thing you want to do is travel to the Philippines to meet this person, or let the criminal know where you’re staying!
Professional investigators emphasize the need for proper background check investigations before traveling to the Philippines. All personal and business relationships and individuals should be verified due to the high risk, and never travel to a foreign country to meet someone you’ve never met in person without first verifying the facts and getting evidence you will be safe.
Law enforcement agencies receive reports every day of citizens who have been victims of fraud by people they met online. “Uncovering love fraud in the Philippines is complicated”, says Nathan Mendoza, Director of Background Checks at Philippine PI. Many Filipinas have been for long deceiving foreigners with love promises. The main difference with online dating scams in other countries is that the scammers in Philippines do exist in most cases. “Many of them are real, but they just do not intend to marry their victims and are simply trying to extract money”, he adds. That is one of the reasons why making sure you are dealing with the right person is important before traveling.
The following are some of the considerations that investigators recommend:
- Verify the identity and background. Before even thinking about buying a ticket, make sure the person you have been talking to online is really who she claims to be. A background check conducted by local investigators in Manila, Cebu or the city of origin will provide you with the basic information everyone needs to know before taking a big step. Many foreigners base their relationships on what the person has mentioned about themselves: what their name is, where they live, if they have any children, where they work, etc. It is sad to see people who have been deceived quite from the beginning of a “relationship”, and it´s worse to find out this has been going on for months or even years. So the first question anyone in this situation should ask himself is: is this person telling the truth about their life? Facts cannot be denied or changed. Experienced investigators in Manila and Cebu can verify all the information you have on an individual and provide you with clear evidence before you take a trip to the other side of the world. Take the time to speak to a professional investigator about your situation, and how you can lower your risk in discreet and confidential fashion. After, your life could be at stake. Think it couldn’t happen to you? Embassies in Manila have a list the horror stories.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Let people know your plans and where you will be staying. Notify your embassy of your travel plans so in case of an emergency, you have a much better chance of making it out of the country safe and unharmed. It is also important to get informed about the emergency protocols in the Philippines: where to call for the police, ambulance, your country´s embassy, etc. Read the U.S. Department of State general recommendations that you should check before Philippines has a serious crime problem in metropolitan areas, and internet scams put travelers at serious risk. Don’t be a victim. Be safe and get a proper background check before you buy your flight abroad.
- Try traveling with a friend. Once you know the facts and have evidence that the person is who he or she claims to be, you can then begin your travel plans with peace of mind. Even though you’ve taken the right steps and lowered your risk, it’s still smart to take some general precautions. If possible, try traveling with a business partner or friend on your trip abroad. Especially on business trips, it helps to have a partner there to make important business decisions about who you meet while overseas. For personal relationships, having a friend with you in the Philippines could keep you safe and make your experience better. Being accompanied by someone else reduces the chances of serious risks like being kidnapped or suffering from blackmail or other crimes. The Philippines is going through tough times with ISIS extremist expansion in the south of Philippines, so do not fall for any trap. When traveling to the south of the Philippines, take extra precaution due to the risk of Muslim terrorists.
- Follow your instinct. If you have any reason to doubt the person you are going to meet, why travel then? Listen to your gut instinct. Don’t ignore the red flags! Private investigators in the Philippines see many cases where the victims traveled because they were trying to see for themselves if their girlfriend was being truthful. But what really happens at the end is that they were not able to verify situations like infidelity, or her being married to someone else. Travelers meet at the hotel, go out for dinner, etc. But it is hard to know if their real life is as they say just by visiting the country for a few days. If things do not make sense, it is better to invest in discreet surveillance services than to waste time meeting someone who is married or who has a serious boyfriend. Did you know that some women even present their husbands to victims, and claim that he is their cousin? Scamming is part of the culture in the Philippines, and don’t think just because you have met his or her family that you are in the clear!
Most of all, be rational. It is understandable that people are excited about finally meeting someone they have been looking forward to meet for long. But your safety is first!
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