What a sad indictment on any modern society that this sort of warning has to be issued at all. Those found guilty of such scams should receive double the tariff meted out to other fraudsters.
This warning is as applicable anywhere in the world as it is in the US.
US Federal Trade Commission warning:
In the wake of the devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, reminds consumers that scams often follow disasters. If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to help people in disaster-affected areas, before you give, be sure your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.
Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren't honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give. Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites. For more on the questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.
If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to support victims of the typhoon, remember:
• Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events, like a natural disaster.
• Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.