Customs warns public on ‘unclaimed package’ scam

Published July 6, 2020, 5:30 PM

by Betheena Kae Unite

The Bureau of Customs warned the public on Monday over an emerging scam that lures victims using a supposed unclaimed package at the bureau.


Various reports on scam incidents through online, email, SMS and calls have reached the bureau lately.

Scammers allegedly use dummy or fake accounts in social media, emails, text messages or phone calls to lure victims while some would even use the name of Customs employees, the bureau said.

The impostors, according to the bureau, convince victims to pay duties and taxes for the release of a package under their names through money remittance or personal bank accounts.

Bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages and other documents are also sent to the victims to make the transaction look legitimate.

“The BOC reiterates that it solely assesses duties and taxes on parcels and such may be paid on a cash basis through the courier or freight forwarder upon delivery at doorstep or pick up the parcel at the nearest local branch,” the Customs bureau said in a statement.

The duties and taxes can only be collected through accredited agent banks (AAB) and not through personal bank accounts or other money transfer services, it added.

The Customs bureau also encouraged victims to reach out to them first to validate the documents sent by an individual who introduced himself as a Customs employee.

“The scams can also be sophisticated at times, involving fake tracking website of the said courier or freight forwarder where victims would be asked to visit and see the status of the supposed parcel,” the bureau said.

This can be verified with the Department of Trade and Industry through their website to see if the courier is a DTI-accredited deconsolidator.

The scams, the bureau furthered, can easily be spotted if the scammer fails to provide the address of their office and insists on paying through online banks and money remittance.

The public is advised to be careful in dealing with suspicious notifications and individuals asking for money and report such incidents to the bureau. They were also encouraged to report the incidents to the cybercrime offices of the Philippine National Police or National Bureau of Investigation.