The Department of Justice (DOJ) has warned the public against falling victim to the “love and cargo” scam.
“The Christmas spirit is indeed a spirit of giving. However, there are still ill-intent individuals who will deceive you during this season through the employment of various fraudulent schemes, such as the Love and Cargo Scam,” read the advisory posted by the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (OOC) on social media Thursday afternoon, Dec. 3.
“It is important to make time in apprising yourself of the current trends and threats so you can avoid being victimized by cyber-criminals,” it advised.
Under the scheme, the DOJ-OOC said perpetrators befriend victims through online dating or social media.
“Vigilence is always the key. Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person,” it advised.
The DOJ-OOC warned the public to watch out for red flags including the perpetrators informing them that they will be receiving packages “containing luxury items and/or money.”
It said victims will even receive messages from bogus courier service companies that would inform them that the packages have arrived.
“Perpetrator would convince the victim to pay the necessary custom duties and to deposit the amount to the bank account provided by the courier service representative,” read the advisory.
The DOJ-OOC cautioned that the bogus courier service would even present bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages, and other documents to make the transaction look legitimate.
It added that even if payment has been deposited “the courier will require additional payment for taxes in relation to the cash allegedly stored in the package.”
The DOJ-OOC revealed perpetrators of the scheme have used the following bogus courier services: ABC Cargo, ACC Cargo, Airtrack Cargo, Alpha Blink, Blue express, ECC Cargo, Express Cargo, Global Express Cargo, Link Up Frieght, Oceanic Delivery, Quick Cargo, Sky Express, Skyline Delivery Express, Speed Cargo, SpeedEx Cargo, Unifed, Union Cargo, and Unified Global.
“If in case a stranger texted you about an unclaimed package addressed to you being held by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), verify the existence of the package by reaching the BOC Helpdesk,” it advised.
Those who have already fallen victim to the scam are advised to contact the DOJ-OOC or the National Bureau of Investigation’s Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD).