07 October 2009

Ondoy Donation Scam

Boy and his bucket
A scammer who tried to take advantage of the outpouring of support for Tropical Storm Ondoy victims has been blocked from reaping the fruits of his evil scheme, a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) official has said.

Rene Baňo, manager of the BPI branch in SM Cebu, said the scam was nipped in the bud with the help of the owner of a bank account who was unwittingly used by the fraudster.

As gathered by GMANews.TV, the modus operandi employed in this scam is for the fraudster using the name Percival Navoa to e-mail potential donors, mostly overseas Filipinos, soliciting their donations for GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.

The fraudster passed himself off as someone from the finance department of the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.

To get hold of donations, the fraudster told potential donors to remit to a particular BPI account 'for your convenience' because the Kapuso Foundation’s Banco De Oro account is supposed to be slow due to so many donations. Besides, the BPI supposedly charges a lesser fee.

In an e-mail to one overseas Filipino, the fraudster asked that donors remit their donations to the BPI account of Floriza Lucero, owner of Account Number 1-369-04887-9.

Feeling suspicious about the instruction, the donor e-mailed GMA Network to inquire.

A check with BPI’s national office led GMANews.TV to the BPI branch in SM Cebu, which confirmed that Account Number 1-369-04887-9 did exist and was owned by Floriza Lucero.

Baňo said Lucero herself was also a victim of this scam. He said Lucero reported to the bank that she made the mistake of lending her ATM card to a friend, who said he was going to receive some remittances.

“We can’t tell you the name of the person behind this scheme, but we can tell you that he was unable to get hold of the money remitted to the account," Baňo told GMANews.TV in a phone interview Thursday night.

He said the bank has not taken action any against the fraudster because no complaint has been filed so far.