The Bureau of Customs on Tuesday warned the public anew against members of a syndicate engaged in the so-called “love scam” whose illegal activity in social media continued unabated.
The scammers use the picture of a top Customs – Ninoy Aquino International Airport official in a bid to victimize unsuspecting Facebook users.
“The public is forewarned that unscrupulous individuals are using a fake Facebook account bearing the name “Carmelita Talusan” and posing as district collector in order to scam the public,” the bureau stated in its advisory.
“NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan does not have a Facebook account and does not use FB to communicate or transact official BOC matters,” the advisory added.
Members of the syndicate grabbed pictures of Port of NAIA officials and used their names to demand money as purported clearance fees for the release of shipments by the bureau.
“The Bureau of Customs does not collect any fees or charges through Gcash or money remittance services. Payment of Customs duties and taxes is through authorized agent banks or BOC cashiers and given the corresponding official receipt for the payments made,” the agency stated.
Customs has been receiving reports about the scheme through online, email, text message and calls.
The callers usually complained about packages or parcel shipments being “held by Customs” which was supposedly sent to them by their “chatmates” or “online friends.”
The syndicate get in touch with prospective victims online via chat or dating websites. After several weeks or even months, the perpetrators would 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.