CON MEN are tricking people into handing over money by pretending they are collecting cash on behalf of the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain.
The embassy is now warning people against handing over cash and is urging any victims of the scandal to come forward.
Ambassador Alfonso Ver said the racket started last month and falsely claimed to be fundraising for distressed Filipinos living in Bahrain.
“This is a pure scam,” he told the GDN.
“Some people are collecting funds claiming to help charities that work for the welfare of distressed Filipino workers in Bahrain.
“We issued a warning to the community stating this was not the case and urged them not to donate to such groups.”
A notice issued by the embassy states it is not involved in any fundraising activities on behalf of Filipinos facing hardships. It also makes it clear that the embassy has not authorised any individuals, groups, institutions or organisations to collect funds for any purpose.
Embassy charge d’affaires Joaquin Aragon said he suspected those behind the scam deliberately timed it to coincide with Christmas, in order to exploit people’s charity at what is traditionally a time of giving.
“Usually during Christmas there is lot of buzz and we usually see donations collected for floods, calamity or other natural disasters back home,” he said.
“The embassy always mentions full details of authorised aid agencies with their contacts and bank details for people in Bahrain to donate or make transfers.
“There are many online scams out there and we don’t want our people to fall prey to more such frauds.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Filipino Club Bahrain advised members of the public to verify the credentials of any fundraisers before parting with their cash.
“The club organises fundraisers after receiving approval from the Labour and Social Development Ministry, but some people – because of their good nature – in their own capacity start collecting funds to support organisations back in the Philippines,” he said.
“We were informed about the embassy notice regarding groups soliciting funds, claiming they represented the mission, and have propagated this message to our community.”
He recommended that anyone who wanted to donate money should to send funds to authorised aid groups and charities that work in the Philippines.