Some groups warn the public against relief donation scams spreading on social media.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, donations should not be made immediately. Those who wish to extend help should carefully evaluate the recipients of their cash or in-kind donation. It said some just fool and profit from the goodness of the people who want to help.
The NDRRMC added that the organization asking for donations should have a proven track record of assisting calamity and disaster victims.
They also said that the bank account they use is not an individual’s personal bank account.
However, the group’s relief operation for the victims of the typhoon continues.
Donation scams fall under estafa
A person who would participate in a donation scam could face an estafa case under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
Under this form of estafa, there are also three ways of committing simple estafa under Article 315(1)(b) of the RPC, namely, a) by misappropriating the thing received; b) by converting the thing received; and c) by denying that the thing was received.
This kind of estafa involving donation scams has the following elements:
- That money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return the same;
- That there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt;
- That such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and
- That there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender.
The terms misappropriation or conversion connotes “an act of using or disposing of another’s property as if it were one’s own or of devoting it to a purpose or use different from that agreed upon.”