MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) issued a warning on Friday against scams on the internet involving gifts and money that will be sent in exchange for payment of supposedly customs duties and taxes.
The BOC said its office in Manila has received reports of 12 people being victimized by the scam, adding that the number does not include victims who did not personally report to authorities and those residing in the provinces.
The customs agency said most of the victims are women and most of the e-mail senders supposedly come from Australia, United Kingdom and the United States.
The scammers usually contact victims through online chat or dating websites.
They will then send a message to their victims through email, promising to send gifts ranging from luxury bags, jewelry, laptop computers and other electronic gadgets via international door-to-door parcel.
The victims then receive a tracking number and invoice for the purported shipment.
After a few days, the victims again receive an email, allegedly coming from the BOC, informing them that packages would be sent to them after they pay duties and taxes to be deposited in a designated bank account or money transfer service. The email also details the breakdown of customs duties and taxes.
BOC warned that this email is not authorized the agency does not give assessments and computations of duties and taxes by email and instead computed and written on official BOC document.
The BOC noted that customs duties and taxes due are payable only to the BOC and not through any bank.
“We urge the public to be more vigilant against these scams. Prior to making any payment, we advise recipients of emails purportedly sent by the Bureau of Customs to inquire first through our public assistance contact channels: Landline: 9173201; Email: [email protected]; and Twitter: @CustomsPH,” the BOC said.