The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday, Feb. 24 warned prospective overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against the modus operandi of an extortionist pretending to be an immigration officer.
“We have received a complaint sometime in December regarding a Filipino worker who wanted to depart to Dubai under a tourist visa, but was intercepted at the airport,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.
“An immigration officer who introduced himself as ‘James’ approached her and offered to escort her for a fee,” Morente said, referring to the OFW hopeful with a tourist visa.
According to the lady vicitm, James claimed that he was an immigration officer assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Moreover, he said he had the capacity to allow her departure.
She sent James P75,000 via GCash with the hopes of being able to leave the country. However, she was again intercepted by BI officers despite providing her contact with the grease money.
“The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect but he made excuses about it. Upon verification with our records, we had no such employee,” Morente added.
Morente said they have already established the identity of the suspected fixer, who was an outsider.
“I can’t disclose the details of the fixer, but I have instructed our intelligence operatives to coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure that this person is arrested and punished,” he said.
Morente urged aspiring OFWs to report any fixing or extortion attempt to the police so they may get arrested and stopped from victimizing others.
“They (fixers) are sweet-talkers that will entice you to attempt to work illegally, but we have already measures in place to prevent that from happening,” he said.