Because of rising rent, many Filipinos choose to share costs by getting roommates. It’s a cost-effective way of living in the city and being near schools, offices, and other important locations. Because of this, bad elements are taking advantage and using this to rob people of their belongings.
Nonito C. shared a story on Facebook about how the landlord of the condo he’s staying at entertained prospective tenants. One prospective tenant had another in mind because he ended up stealing Nonito’s laptop, camera, and other valuables.
The guy introduced himself as a chef for the Royal Caribbean cruises, and was given a long vacation leave by the company. Nonito describes him as having several gold teeth, dark complexion, and dyed blond hair.
According to Nonito:
A prospective tenant responded to a notice that my landlord put up, looking for prospective roommates in the condo unit where I live. The long and short of it is, last January 12th, the guy posed as a prospect, and when he was already admitted in, proceeded to steal my valuables. I lost everything in the 17 minutes (according to CCTV footage) that he was inside my unit. Laptop, camera, hard drive (with my thesis files, readings and notes, backup work files, photos, movies, and other important digital files), wristwatch, wallet (ATM cards, IDs), and cash. Di pa pinatulan ang Samsung brick phone na may flashlight (He didn’t take my Samsung brick phone that has a flashlight). I was distracted and with a very quick window of opportunity, I lost everything that I worked hard for.
He wanted to report the case to the police, but he realized that the guy probably used a fake ID.
I reported everything to the police and they basically told me that for the case to proceed, I will have to file a case with the prosecutor against a person who most likely presented fake IDs and a fake identity. In order for the CCTV footage to be presented as evidence, there will have to be a case first. It will be practically be impossible to track where this guy is now. The condo security group and the police documented everything, but sadly, it stops there.
To warn others, Nonito has these tips:
1. Always have someone else present when you are showing a new tenant around. Coordinate the ocular inspection with someone else you trust so that you are not alone. Never let the new person out of your sight. Secure any valuables and keep an eye on things you can’t lock away or nail down.
2. Always make sure to collect more credible and multiple identification documents. The most reliable government-issued document is a valid Passport. When that fails, get a school or employment ID and verify affiliation with the company telephone number on the ID. (The thief presented a fake driver’s license).
3. Always trust your gut feel. Your instinct is built in your psyche to guarantee your survival. If you have a bad feeling about something or someone, speak up.
4. Always secure redundant backups for files. These days, it’s easy to put your mind at ease that you religiously back up your files in external hard drives, but hey, even hard drives can be stolen, too.
5. Interview prospective tenants. Always be alert and make sure that their facts add up.
6. After securing paperwork, nake sure to collect any up-front fees, appropriate security deposits, and rent advances before admitting anyone in OR before you give him a copy of the key to the place. This will protect you from losses, damages and instances like these.
7. Don’t be too lax and complacent just because you have redundant security systems in place. My condo building has round-the-clock security, a registration policy at the front desk, as well as CCTV cameras in the elevators and the hallways. The CCTV footage showed his face clearly. This won’t stop thieves. They brazenly carry on knowing full well that it will take a while for the police to track them down.
Have you experienced this modus? Share your thoughts below!