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Budol-budol is a scam principally involving a bundle (budol) of cash padded inside with sheets of paper cut in the size of money. Only the exposed sides however are real money, everything in between are plain paper cuttings.


  • The Worthless Bastards

Those who operate this type of scam are generally referred to as Budol-budol gang members. These swindlers are actually con-artists that operate in a group. They usually front an attractive lead, male or female depending on their plot, strategically set-up to disarm the potential victim and avoid suspicion at the same time. Victims of the Budol-budol gang often describe the members as sweet-talking, charismatic, and convincing. Other victims even report having been hypnotized by the group.

  • The ploy

From the initial set-up of a stranger carrying an envelope containing a bundle of cash, a wide variety of ploys are employed by the gang. Reports and stories of the Budol-budol operations vary from a balikbayan urgently needing a huge amount in Philippine Peso in exchange for his Dollars, to a stranger's emergency offer to swap his bundle of cash with a cellphone or an expensive piece of jewelry.

  • The complication

After gaining the potential victim's trust, the lead will try to further deepen his story. In order to involve other members, the lead will complicate the situation make it compelling to the victim but still believable. The ploy works by creating realistic identities with matching stories that would seem too random to be be connected. And when the helpless victim bites the plot, the deals come into play.

  • The deal

A deal is offered by the gang to the victim in a highly suggestive manner. It is usually done quickly (although some reports of big-time Budol-budol scams are said to have taken days to plan and execute) giving the victim little or no time to think and react. The two parties will then switch goods; the bundle of money of the lead for whatever the victim has. And while a lot of cellphones, bags, and jewelries have been lost to this illegal operation, some high profile cases report having lost rare paintings, expensive furniture and millions worth of checks to the Budol-budol gang. After the deal is made, the gang and the victim splits.

  • The discovery

The victims, now carrying what they think is a huge sum of money, will not immediately open the envelope containing the bundle of cash for security reasons. Once they reach a safe place, they open the envelope and find out - too late - that they have fallen victim to the Budol-budol scam.

Words of advice

Authorities advise the public

  1. not to trust strangers,
  2. always check your profit before going away,
  3. never have deals with people you meet in a public location
  4. carefully assess deals and transactions involving huge amounts,
  5. be doubtful of undocumented offers of cash, and
  6. always ask for a receipt when part of any big or small transaction



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