‘Be vigilant vs. online scammers’



The Bureau of Customs Friday reiterated its reminder to the public to be vigilant against online scammers, especially with the start of the Yuletide season.

Validate bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages, and other documents with the BOC or the nominated courier at https://parceltracking.customs.gov.ph/kiosk.php, the BOC said in an advisory, adding that it is also important to verify if the named courier is in the list of DTI’s accredited courier or freight forwarders.

“Never provide any personal information to anyone you just virtually met on social media or dating apps, and never make a payment to someone you don’t know personally, especially through personal bank account, GCash, or money remittance center,” the BOC said.

It added that scammers use dummies or fake accounts on social media, emails, text messages, or phone calls to lure potential victims. “The scammer will then pretend that he/she sent a gift or package containing money and/or luxury goods to the victim.

“The victim will then receive a message, call, or email from an individual pretending as a Customs employee and asking for clearance fee payments for the release of the package.

“Bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages, and other documents are also sent to the victims to make the transaction seem legitimate. The scams can also be sophisticated at times, involving a fake tracking website of the courier/freight forwarder where victims would be asked to check the status of the supposed parcel.

“Scammers do not usually provide the address of their office. The scammer and the individual pretending to be a BOC representative will convince the victim to pay the clearance fee and deposit it to any personal bank account, GCash, or any money remittance center, but no package will arrive,” the advisory added.

Meanwhile, the BOC said it once again exceeded its monthly collection target by generating over P75.338 billion for the month of November, higher by 1.5 percent than the assigned goal.

From January to November this year, the BOC collected P813.651 billion, surpassing the target of P795.966 billion by 2.2 percent, equivalent to P17.685 billion.

The BOC also said in a statement that it has intensified its digitalization initiatives through innovative systems that streamline procedures and reduce processing times in import and export transactions; and heightened border control and security measures to combat illicit trade and customs fraud. | CGC