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BPO provider behind unscrupulous charity scam

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By Martin Conboy. Agents from the Philippine Justice Department have raided the offices of Proact Telemarketing based in Makati city. It is alleged that the company has been involved in a number of scams and illegal practices, the most notorious being the collection of donations for survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.

The survivors of Yolanda apparently received no money or aid from the scheme, with all the funds reportedly being pocketed by the operators of the business and their associates.

It is alleged the call centre and its staff contacted donors from around the world soliciting for donations for the victims of Yolanda.

Local media in the Philippines has named David Gilinsky, a Canadian national and Paul Fischer, a British National, as the owners of Proact, who have been arrested and detained by Philippine Authorities. It is alleged the call centre and its staff contacted donors from around the world soliciting for donations for the victims of Yolanda. The amount of money that has been scammed has not been revealed at this point in time.

Philippines media is reporting that Gilinsky is also connected with an online investment firm Fisher Capital Management (FCM). Since December 2013, Fisher Capital Management has been under investigation by a number of authorities for money laundering and scams in different countries.  FCM is suspected of fraudulent behaviour and of ‘selling’ worthless shares using virtual offices as a plausible front.

Taking advantage of the good will of people by leveraging the misery of the desperately poor unfortunates and victims of Yolanda is despicable in every sense of the word.

In relation to the recent raid, media reports are saying that Gilinsky and Fischer are accused of illegally extracting data from other companies, a violation the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. NBI Cybercrime Division agents arrested them and 28 of their employees in Manila.

NBI agents seized the firm’s IT and telecommunications equipment, including desktop computers, phones and servers.

If this situation is true then such behaviour by immoral and dishonest operators places a black mark against the Philippines BPO sector and its attempts to establish itself as a credible and respected industry.

Taking advantage of the good will of people by leveraging the misery of the desperately poor unfortunates and victims of Yolanda is despicable in every sense of the word.

There is no doubt that there are many fine charities around the world that use call centres and telemarketing to raise funds for worthy causes and they should be supported, its just that every now and again there is a rogue operator with no scruples who exploits the channel for their own unsavoury ends. Shame on them!
June 4, 2014
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