Pinays warned against Internet ‘love’ scams

Published September 20, 2018, 8:03 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Minerva BC Newman

CEBU CITY – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) warned Filipino women looking for foreign boy­friends through the Internet not to fall for “love” scams.


Cebu Customs public information officer Erwin Andaya said the agency receives at least two complaints daily from Filipinas who had been fooled into paying amounts ranging from R10,000 to R50,000 so they could claim packages suppos­edly sent to them by their foreigner boyfriends.

“Some cases include the Filipina being called by someone from airport immigration asking her to send money immediately to bail out her for­eigner boyfriend who was being held in custody for attempting to bring in a huge amount of money and that she had been identified by the foreigner as his future wife,” Andaya said.

Most of the scammed Filipinas are in their late 20s, and are usually single mothers and widows, he said.

Andaya said advised Filipinas looking for boy­friends abroad to be suspicious of people who ask money as payment for a package or any services where online remittances are made.

Andaya said Customs is trying its best to change the perception that it is a corrupt agency.

It is doing this by being more transparent and responsive, he said.

To this end, Customs has set up a hotline the public can call and cracked down on Fixers, Andaya said.

Smuggling and corruption at the bureau has been reduced with the passage of the Customs and Tariff Act that increases penalties for misde­claring goods.

“We continue to hold regular monthly brief­ings and consultations with the stakeholders and several sectors that include importers, exporters, brokers, ports administrators, businessmen, chambers of commerce, academe and the media for updates in the Bureau,” Andaya said.

The Port of Cebu which covers Cebu, Mactan, and Dumaguete, has a P26-billion collection target for 2018, he said.

“We already collected R18.5 billion as of August 2018, an increase of P1.3 billion,” Andaya said.

He said the source of revenues for the BOC-District 7 comes from the major import/exports of electronics, meat products, machineries and petroleum (for Dumaguete).

For this year, Andaya said there were no “big-ticket” smugglers. There were some mis-declared and undeclared goods – which were mostly sex toys and objects, but these are prohibited goods hence they are always confiscated.