Customs Warns Anew On Mail Fraud Schemes
Mail fraud schemes are increasing in number despite an earlier warning issued by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) that some crooked individuals posing as Customs officers are using the mail to collect money from intended victims.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon earlier expressed alarm over the reported mail fraud scheme and warned the public to be wary of the bogus communications, either through mail or the internet, purporting to be from the BOC.
To this day, however, the Office of the Commissioner (OCOM) continues to receive reports from persons who received notices from alleged Customs officials advising them that their parcels are being put on hold until a certain amount is paid through money transfer services.
“The Bureau of Customs never sends letters of notice about packages from abroad and duties to be paid to individuals as it is only the Postal Service Office (PSO) that sends out the notices,” Biazon said.
Biazon stressed that the BOC’s responsibility is only to assess the value and to collect payments for dutiable goods being sent through the country’s postal service.
“Should there be payments for duties and taxes, its payee shall be the Bureau of Customs and not somebody else,” he said.
One of the reports received by the OCOM came from a lady who received a message that a friend fromAustraliasent her a package through UBX Cargo on July 9, 2012. After two days, a certain Patti Edwardo, who said she is from the Customs Clearance Office, telephoned her informing that her package is atCebuMactanInternationalAirportand asked her to pay the taxes and duties amounting to Php9,000 throughWestern Union.
Another package claimant from Negros said she was notified through email, allegedly from Philippine Customs, informing that her package from the USA is already at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) section Terminal 1 A and that she has to pay Php10,600 pesos as customs duties and taxes for her package to be released.
Worse yet, some people even received notices of “package” coming from an unknown sender abroad and they are advised to pay the customs duties and taxes immediately.
“The bureau has instituted policies on the claiming of cargoes and parcels from abroad. Therefore, the public should be on the guard against these mail fraud schemes. Any communication or email making such a request should be regarded with extreme skepticism,” the BOC Chief said.
Biazon advised the public to report to the BOC, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other police authorities for appropriate action any suspicious unsolicited communication or email messages.