BOC warns public against ‘unclaimed package’ scam

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020   •   383

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) warns the public against the so-called ‘unclaimed package’ scam.

The Bureau has been receiving reports of scam incidents involving unscrupulous individuals luring victims with a supposed unclaimed package at Customs using various means of communication such as online, e-mail, SMS and even phone calls.

Scammers allegedly use dummies or fake accounts. At times they would even use the Bureau’s name or pose as employees to deceive victims into paying duties and taxes through money remittance or personal bank accounts for the release of a certain package. 

They even send bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages and other documents to the victims to make the transaction seem legitimate. 

Some scammers also use sophisticated methods such as the use of fake courier tracking websites that victims would be asked to visit to see the status of the supposed parcel. 

The BOC reiterates that it solely assesses duties and taxes on parcels and these can be paid on a cash basis through the courier or freight forwarder upon delivery at the client’s doorstep or upon pick up of the parcel at the nearest local branch.

Furthermore, said duties and taxes can only be collected through BOC-accredited agent banks and not through personal bank accounts or other money transfer services.

Meanwhile, alleged tracking websites can be verified with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its website to see if the said courier is a DTI-accredited deconsolidator.

The public is advised to be careful in dealing with suspicious notifications and individuals asking for money.

How to spot a scammer?

  • Scammer fails to provide the address of their office
  • Scammer insists on paying through online banks and money remittance

What to do?

  • Immediately inform the Customs helpdesk or the BOC-CARES through email at boc.cares@customs.gov.ph or send a message tot he BOC’s Facebook page – Bureau of Customs PH

Report online scams to the cybercrime offices of the Philippine National Police or National Bureau of Investigation.

No photo description available.

Over P500,000 worth of smuggled rice seized in Cebu port

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

More than half a million pesos worth of smuggled rice was intercepted at the Port of Cebu, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Wednesday.

The BOC said the shipment containing 495 bags of Myanmar White Rice was seized on August 10.

“This latest apprehension is the result of the intelligence and investigative work of the Port’s Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) headed by District Commander SPAS Jerry M. Arizabal,” the bureau said in a statement.

The bags of rice were intercepted after the ESS received information that a shipment that arrived at the Port of Cebu from Kaohsiung, Taiwan on July 23 was loaded with imported rice.

The bureau’s investigation showed that the inward foreign manifest declared the shipment to contain personal effects. It was consigned to a certain Theresa Lawas of Barangay Pansoy, Municipality of Sogod, Cebu.

However, verification with Barangay Pansoy revealed that it had no resident named Theresa Lawas.

With this information, Acting District Collector Atty. Charlito Martin Mendoza issued a Pre-Lodgement Control Order against the shipment on 29 July 2020.

“A 100% physical examination was subsequently conducted by Customs Examiner Odilon Bustamante in the presence of representatives from the ESS, X-ray Inspection Project (XIP), Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI)-Cebu Chapter,” the BOC said.

The physical examination yielded 495 bags of Myanmar White Rice, and no personal effects as stated in the manifest, it added.

The bags of rice were also not covered by any Sanitary and Phytosanitary Clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Consequently, a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the shipment for violation of Section 1113(f) and (l) par. 5of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The BOC reminded importers to properly declare their goods, and identify themselves in shipping documents. It also called on the public to report to the Bureau any information about illegal shipments that are attempted to be brought into the country.

BOC seizes P23.5M worth of ecstacy concealed in coffee, kids’ toys

Robie de Guzman   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 13,824 tablets of party drug Ecstacy, with an estimated street value of P23,500,800, were seized in Pasay City, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement, the BOC said its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted the tablets at the Central Mail Exchange Center warehouse.

The tablets were found in seven parcels addressed to different consignees, it added.

The shipments, which reportedly originated from the Netherlands and Belgium, were declared as coffee and kids’ toys.

The bureau said the parcels were subjected to inspection after its personnel found the weight of the packages “suspicious.” The examination was also conducted following a discovery in July of smuggled illegal drugs through “coffee beans” from abroad.

Upon physical examination, Custom examiners found the tablets in different colors and concealed in toys and wrappers of coffee.

Field tests conducted by Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confirmed that the seized tablets were methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as Ecstacy.

The BOC said it already turned over to PDEA the seized illegal drugs for further profiling and case build-up against the importers and other individuals involved in the possible prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Public warned against scammers using fake BOC emails, web links

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday warned the public against unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of initiatives to promote the use of online systems amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by posing as bureau personnel to extort money from their victims.

The BOC issued the warning following reports of people claiming to have communicated with individuals allegedly from the bureau who in turn ask payment for the release of their packages.

The bureau said these scammers are using fake Bureau of Customs e-mail accounts and websites as means to swindle their victims.

The BOC reiterated that the official website of the Bureau of Customs is http://customs.gov.ph and it is using e-mail address boc.cares@customs.gov.ph to cater to stakeholder concerns.

The agency said it is now coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation to take down these fake accounts and bring the scammers to justice.

It also reminded the public to remain vigilant against criminals who take advantage of technology to commit unscrupulous acts.

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