NOTE: Things have changed since I first wrote this article. Facebook has basically replaced Friendster as the most popular social media site. Friendster has completely changed its format, so it now worthless for the purposes I described here. Social media sites (like Facebook) in general are useful, though. I have explained that in a new article: Filipina Scams: How to Avoid Con Artists
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, there’s a decent chance that you’ll run into a few scammers while searching for a Filipina wife. For some Filipinas (or Filipinos), the temptation to make a quick, no-risk buck is just too great (read other articles labeled “scam” for more information). There’s one simple step that is 100% free, very easy, and can help you identify Filipina scammers/con artists. It is not foolproof, but it is worth a shot. What is it? Friendster.com. Friendster is the most popular website in the Philippines. It is a social networking site, similar to myspace or facebook. The vast majority of Filipinas will have a friendster account. You can use this to your advantage, doing a little background check on your new Filipina friend. This is what I would recommend: 1. Set up your own friendster profile. It is free, and it will allow you to post more pictures of yourself for Filipinas to see. It will also allow you to make other friends in the Philippines, which you can definitely use to your advantage. I still recommend using dating websites for reasons that I’ve already mentioned. The potential disadvantage here is that all of your Filipina prospects join your network and you run into jealousy issues. I would recommend that you simply be honest with all the young women you talk with—let them know you are making several friends online. Don’t tell a Filipina that you are only communicating with her if you are also talking with others. This is only fair—neither of you should be committing when you’ve never met in person. Remember, she is also free to entertain other online “suitors.” Honesty is the best policy. If you want, you can create a blank account with no pictures and no friends. This will keep you anonymous and allow you to do some of the next steps (but it will not really help you make other friends, which I think is very helpful). 2. Most people exchange email pretty quickly in the process. Once she gives you her email, look up her profile in friendster (this is another reason to have your own account, so you can look up profiles). Don’t tell her you are doing this—see if what she told you matches up with what is in her account. It is not unusual for Filipinas to be a year or two younger than what they post in a Filipna dating site. Maybe that is not such a big deal (unless she’s underage). BUT—you may find major inconsistencies. She may have pictures on her friendster profile with a boyfriend—this, of course would be a major problem. Checking out her profile is a reasonably good way to see if the Filipina is who she claims to be. 3. Some Filipinas will have more than one email address, so it is possible that the one she gives you is not her friendster address. If this happens, just ask her for her friendster account. Most Filipinas will have a friendster profile, and most will have no problem directing you to it. You will occasionally come across Filipinas who don’t have a friendster account. This is rare, but it is not always a reason to be suspicious. As you can see, this is a simple way to do a little background check. So far I haven’t met any scammers with elaborate friendster profiles (complete with friends, testimonies, etc). It takes several months to build up a network on friendster, and most scammers are in it for a quick buck. 4. Friendster will allow you to make friends with other Filipinas and Filipinos. It’s good if you have a few friends that are not romantically involved with you. These friends, for example, can let you know if a picture is that of a celebrity. They can give you some practical advice and help you learn about the culture.