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5 Things I Learned After Someone Stole My Identity Online

This was a rough week. Actually, scratch that. This was a terrible week.

So terrible I just had to go attend a Zumba session (yes I’m doing Zumba! I’ll blog about it sometime soon!) despite my hectic schedule and had my hair coloured and highlighted, which is something I’ve never done before (referring to the highlights).

It all started on Monday. Oh wow, was it just 6 days ago? Looking back, I feel like it happened way back, as in weeks back. That’s how tough this week was. It felt like it had lasted forever!

But I digress. It was Monday afternoon when someone I didn’t know sent me a message on Facebook. She basically asked me if I was this specific person selling LV bags on Facebook. Um, that was easy. No, I’ve never sold bags — whether online or offline. I was alarmed when she proceeded to tell me that someone has been using not only my name but also my pictures.

It was hard to accept that I just became a victim of identity theft.

A loooot has happened, so I’ll tell you about it in bullet points, avoiding the specific details:

  • I had the Facebook account reported. Thanks to all the people who helped!
  • I went to the NBI Cyber Crime Unit to report the incident. The person in charge wasn’t there.
  • The next day, I went back to the NBI. After almost 2 hours of waiting, the person in charge finally arrived. Not much help; he didn’t even get my name. Thanks so much, NBI.
  • Later that night, two more people I didn’t know contacted me to let me know that they were scammed by the person pretending to be me. They reportedly paid the scammer a big amount of money.
  • I immediately went to our local police station to file a blotter report. This was already late, but they were very helpful and accommodating. Kudos to my district’s chief of police!
  • The next day, I went to the Davao City Police Cyber Crime Unit carrying 20+ pages of printouts. First, I was immediately entertained, unlike NBI. My statement was taken, I filed a complaint report, and the investigator was very thorough in going through all the details of the incident. I went back home feeling very relieved because my name is cleared and someone is finally working on my case.

That’s it. I tried my best not to disclose anything specific, but to be honest, I’m still wary of sharing my story. Still, I think a lot of people would benefit from this — especially fellow bloggers like me who rely on social media. Here are the lessons I learned from this terrible experience.

1. Never use your complete name online.

This was my first faux pas. Even though I’m using only my nickname in my blog and in all my social media profiles, there’s one thing I overlooked. I listed my complete name in my “Other Name” in Facebook. As I’m not someone who looks at my own profile often, I have forgotten that the “Other Name” is publicly listed right under my profile name.

2. Never give out specific details about you, your life, or your family.

To be clear, I’ve never mentioned the following details about my life whether in my blog or in social media. I just included this because it is an important tip that everyone should know. 

Never state your address, your background (how many siblings you have, etc.), your middle name, your parents’ name, your spouse’s full name, your children’s full name, your children’s school. Anything a thief can use to assume your identity.

Also, if possible, avoid posting your child’s/children’s pictures publicly. This is a big lesson for me.

3. Make your Facebook profile as private — and unsearchable — as possible.

My Facebook is private. Or so I thought. After this incident, I realized that the default setting of my album pictures is Public instead of Friends Only. There’s an easy remedy for this. Just go to settings, then click on privacy, and then choose “limit past posts” (or something like that — I’m sharing from memory).

But even if only your friends can see your posts, you’re still not 100% safe from identity theft so you should…

4. Only accept friend/follower requests from people you personally know.

In defense of myself, I try my best to only accept friend requests from people I know. That’s why I never thought I would become a victim of identity theft — I’m not Facebook-famous and I don’t have a lot of friends and followers.

However, I’m also guilty of accepting friend requests from people whom I have a lot of mutual friends with — even if I can’t really recall who they are. That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m going through every single Facebook friend I have and immediately unfriending people I don’t really know.

Don’t be afraid of offending people. If you’ve unfriended someone who turns out to be a relative or someone you personally know (perhaps they changed their name or something), just apologize and add them again. Better safe than sorry!

5. Here’s a not-so-obvious one: avoid posting or commenting on public Facebook groups.

Here’s another angle I’m considering. Just last year, I became a member of a very big Filipino community in Facebook. I’m not new to Facebook groups — in fact, I was fairly active in the Breastfeeding Pinays group years back when I was still breastfeeding — but I must admit I’ve never considered the possibility of someone using and abusing another member’s identity. I actually can’t back this up, but hey, it is possible.

While I’ve never posted in that particular group (the unnamed Filipino community), I occasionally comment on posts that I think are interesting. It never occurred to me before, but now that I think of it, almost 400,000 people — possibly even more — could see these posts/comments. These may not be necessarily revealing in your opinion, but in the eye of an identity thief, you can be easily seen as a potential victim. So be very careful!


This has been a very horrible incident. As I have mentioned to some friends, this is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Even though a couple of people have commented that I’ve been dealing with this problem so calmly, to be honest, it is one of the most stressful events of my life. I would gladly go through difficult labor again rather than this incident.

Still, it’s also an eye-opening event. I have learned so much from this, and I’ve seen the things that I should be more careful about. I realize that I might’ve been too lax and that I should be more proactive in making sure no one will be able to use and abuse my identity. I am praying that this will all end soon and that it will never happen again to me or to someone I know.

To everyone reading this, you can never be too careful, especially on social media. There are people out there whose minds don’t run like ours. They are not afraid to steal and will not hesitate to do evil things for their own benefit. It is our job to protect ourselves and our families.

General Information

Mommy Bloggers and Nutri10Plus for Marawi

Mommy Bloggers Shared The Love To Kids In Marawi Through Nutri10Plus Syrup Vitamin Blog Campaign

(Press Release)

One of the outstanding qualities of mothers is their devotion to providing quality nutrition to their children. This is primarily done by preparing healthy foods and giving effective supplements to sustain and nourish their growing family needs. Nutri10Plus Syrup, a multivitamins packed with Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), Taurine, Lysine, Zinc and Vitamins C, A, D3 B1 and more, had been assisting mothers all around the Philippines in developing children with strong bodies, active brains and healthy appetite.

During the moving up ceremony where Kaye Koo of SinagTala Foundation helped in disseminating the Nutri10Plus and DayCee vitamin pouches to the kids

Military officers helped in distributing the Nutri10Plus Syrup and DayCee pouches to the kids

In the effort to help our co-mommies and their children in the war-stricken village in Marawi, 100 Mommy bloggers from Mommy Bloggers Philippines community had collaborated to bring boxes of Nutri10Plus Syrup,  DayCee Vitamin C Syrup and several toys, to a hundred kids in Marawi through SinagTala, a non-profit organization headed by Ms. Kaye Koo. SinagTala had been sending help to villages in Marawi since the war erupted and it had sheltered hundreds of children inside the Playroom which served as the mini-school and play area of the children.

Military officers helped in distributing the Nutri10Plus Syrup and DayCee pouches to the kids

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General Information Money Matters

Adulting 101: My Sunlife Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL)

Sun Life VUL

There’s just something so “adulty” about the word insurance, don’t you agree?

A VUL is a variable universal life insurance. According to Investopedia, a VUL is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature.

This post is actually 6 months late because I got my very first life insurance policy way back in December last year. I had a draft started, but I never got around to actually writing it. But I remembered it a couple of days ago because my payment was already due lol. Also, a couple of my previous officemates were asking about the VUL. Why did I get Sun Life’s VUL? This is not a sponsored post; I just want to tell you about it.

I never planned to get an insurance policy. Job and I, we decided to start investing in a mutual fund, so that’s what I looked for. After doing some research and comparison, I decided to go pay the local Sun Life office a visit.

Sun Life Davao

(Trivia: During the Expo Mom bazaar in Abreeza last year, one of the booths I visited was Sun Life’s. I got in touch with an agent and even left my details and contact number with her. But she never got back to me, so I just went ahead, visited the main office, and got another agent.)

I met my financial adviser, Paul Chavez, there. I inquired about mutual funds since it was my original purpose, but upon interviewing and assessing me, Paul suggested I get a VUL instead. There were three main reasons that convinced me:

  • First, I have a son who is dependent on me, and he will surely benefit from his parents’ life insurance.
  • Second, we have nothing else (yet) in our portfolio. Because this was our first investment, it’s more prudent to prioritise protection over plain growing of money.
  • Third, it’s not like the money won’t be growing. The projected returns is quite high and we’re getting protection, so yes they’re right – it is like getting the best of both worlds.

Aside from that, there are more benefits outlined here including the VUL’s liquidity (you can withdraw your money if you need it, and it’s called “withdrawal,” not a “loan) and the flexibility of premiums (I treat my VUL as a bank and put in more money if I have extra). Because you can just Google the benefits of getting a VUL, and since I already described a few, I won’t be focusing on that anymore. Let’s talk about my personal experience and impressions.

Why I’m Happy With My Sun Life VUL

1. Because Sun Life is the biggest insurance company in the country and even outside, I feel safe that I am investing my money with the right company. You can do your own research about it and see for yourself the past performance of Sun Life.

2. I have a great agent and I’m very satisfied with the service. Paul is very diligent in reminding me about my due dates, and if I cannot go to the office myself to pay, he adjusts and personally visits me to get my payment. Unfortunately, not all agents are built the same, so please be wise in choosing the right person.

3. There are no penalties for late payments. While I always pay my bills on time, there are circumstances beyond our control (just like what happened to BPI recently).

4. The payment scheme is very flexible. When I first got my policy, I was paying monthly. However, it has gotten more taxing since my schedule is tight, so they changed my mode of payment to quarterly. Just like that!

Sun MaxiLink Prime

5. It’s surprisingly affordable. One of the reasons why I delayed getting an insurance is the cost. Upon inquiring, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it’s not only affordable, it’s also flexible. I have the Sun MaxiLink Prime, and to give you an idea of how much my monthly payment is, let’s just say it’s even cheaper than our Davao City electric bill.

6. Unlike mutual funds and other investment vehicles, a VUL withdrawal is not taxable.

7. Unlike regular insurances, a VUL doesn’t need to fulfil a single, specific need e.g. education. With a VUL, you can decide how you want to use your money, whether you want to use it to fund your child’s college education or build your retirement fund.

I can think of other benefits, but I’m sure a Sun Life financial advisor will be able to better explain it to you. If you think you can benefit from a VUL, try consulting with an advisor. It’s free anyway. In my experience, they didn’t try to upsell me; they looked at my monthly income and my expenses and came up with something that will not be too burdensome for me. All I can say is if you want to protect your loved ones, you need to look into this.

If you’re from Davao and want to consult a Sun Life financial advisor (not all agents are made the same — there are inactive/lazy/unknowledgeable ones who just want to make a sale), send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll give you my advisor’s number.

General Information Tips and Tricks

How to Get Your NBI Clearance Online

How to Get Your NBI Clearance Online

You’ve been redirected from DavaoMommy.com.

(This is an old post re-published.)

(Picture above is not at NBI Davao.)

In my city, the words “NBI Clearance” are often met with dread. This is because the office always manages to be full every day, with people. The lines tend to spill on to the streets, and people begin lining up at 4am just to be first!

I haven’t gone to NBI in, like, almost four years because there wasn’t any need for me to go. But because I will be taking up a board exam this May, I have no choice but to get a clearance.

It’s such a great thing that they have the online option now!

I didn’t think much of it mainly because I was aware that you still have to go to the actual office to claim your clearance. However, when my schoolmate from UP, who is also my classmate in my real estate brokerage class, said that she used the online option and she needed to be at the office for only 5 minutes, I was sold. Since I know most are either not aware of this option or do not how it works, let me take this opportunity to be your guide. Let’s begin!

1. Visit NBI’s website at nbi.gov.ph and click on the button that says “Click here.”

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