Public warned vs ‘love scammers’ | #philippines | #philippinesscams | #lovescams

MANILA, Philippines – With Valentine’s Day only a week away, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) yesterday warned the public against falling for the sweet ways of “love scammers,” whose only intention is to extort money from their Filipino victims.

In a statement, the BOC said the online syndicate often targets single men and women who are looking for love online. They are also using the name of the bureau for their illegal activities.

“We are continuously receiving reports not only here in Manila but also from our provincial collection districts. However, very seldom do we receive official complaints, just phone calls from the victims that they have been scammed. But they don’t leave information. Maybe they are not comfortable talking about their predicament due to its sensitive nature,” Commissioner John Sevilla said.

The scam starts with the “love scammer” introducing himself as a foreigner from Australia, United Kingdom or the United States as he gets in touch with his prospective victims through Internet chat rooms, dating sites, or social networking sites like Facebook.

After several weeks or months of online interaction, the “love scammer” would send his victim a message, saying that he had sent a box containing expensive gifts – such as designer bags, jewelry, laptops and smart phones – via international door-to-door parcel, complete with a tracking number and invoice for the supposed shipment.

After several days, the victims would then receive an email, phone call, or text message allegedly from a BOC employee, informing them that a package was being held in the bureau and that it would be sent to them only after they pay duties and taxes to be deposited in a designated bank account or money transfer service.

The supposed BOC employee would even provide details of the breakdown of customs duties and taxes as proof. However, even after depositing the money, the victims would never get their packages.

“Please be advised that with regard to packages, parcels or even balikbayan boxes, the Bureau of Customs deals with the consolidator, forwarder or courier in charge of your package directly so if ever there is a problem with your packages, the BOC will not call, text or email you but will communicate with your consolidator, forwarder or courier,” Sevilla said.

Also, the BOC does not also provide assessments and computations of duties and taxes by email or text. These are computed and written in official BOC documents and are payable only to the bureau and not through any bank or money transfer service, he noted.

“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,” the bureau chief added.

The BOC public assistance contact channels are landline: +632 9173201, email:, and Twitter: @CustomsPH.

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