Beware of ‘love scam,’ Customs warns

Published January 12, 2021, 7:48 PM

by Ariel Fernandez

Are you fond of chatting with strangers online?

Beware of the “parcel scam” or the “love scam” – a fraudulent scheme of an unscrupulous syndicate texting, calling, and even emailing their victims about cargoes and parcels addressed to them.

The Bureau of Customs-Port of NAIA (BOC-NAIA), in its latest advisory, warned the public about the fraudulent scheme, which it tags as parcel scam or love scam.

Under the scheme, target victims are asked to pay “clearance fees” for the release of supposed cargoes or parcels addressed to them.

At times, the syndicate members drop the names of Customs officials to make the “transaction” appear legitimate.

District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan revealed that the BOC has been getting an increasing number of inquiries through its Facebook messenger and assistance hotlines during these pandemic regarding packages supposedly sent to them by their “chatmates” or “online friends” but are reportedly held by Customs for non-payment of “clearance fees”.

But Talusan emphasized that BOC-NAIA does not require “clearance fees” for cargoes or parcels. Neither does BOC-NAIA demand payment of Customs duties and taxes through phone, nor receive payments through money remittance centers or personal bank accounts.

The BOC-NAIA, she said, only accepts payment of Customs duties and taxes through Authorized Agent Banks (AAB) or BOC cashiers and corresponding official receipts for payments made are issued.