December 5, 2020 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) warned the public yesterday to watch out for the so-called Love and Cargo scam, which is expected to spike this Christmas season.
In an infomercial on Facebook, the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime warned that there are unscrupulous individuals who would deceive people during the holidays through various schemes, including the Love and Cargo scam.
“It is important to make time in apprising yourself of the current trends and threats so you can avoid being victimized by cyber-criminals… let us make Christmas as much opening our presents as opening our minds to the dangers of the cyber domain,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ explained that the Love and Cargo Scam comes in different forms, but often involves efforts of the perpetrators to trick their victims into spending money by showing fake affection and gaining trust.
The DOJ said the perpetrators will befriend their victims either through online dating or social media applications and constantly chat with them until they establish a romantic relationship.
Upon getting into a serious relationship, the perpetrator would allegedly send overseas packages to their potential victims and convince them to pay the necessary customs duties and fees through the bank account provided by a bogus courier service representative.
But the package will never arrive.
In case they encountered a scheme similar to Love and Cargo, the DOJ reminded the public to be vigilant when engaging with unidentified people on the internet.
“Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person,” the DOJ added.
The DOJ also urged the public to verify the information with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should they receive a message from a stranger about an unclaimed package addressed to them allegedly being held by the BOC.
The DOJ added that they could also seek legal advice from their Office of Cybercrime or report the incident to the cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation and to the anti-cybercrime group of the Philippine National Police.