BOC warns public against ‘unclaimed package’ scam

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020   •   334

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.

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Over P186 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Manila Port

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Around seven containers carrying undeclared cigarettes were intercepted at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement on Monday, the BOC said around 6,249 master cases of Two Moon, Mighty, Marvel and D&B Cigarettes that are estimated to have the market value of P P186.9 million were found inside the containers upon physical examination of its personnel.

Verification of documents showed that the shipment came from China and were declared to contain towels, school bags, bed sheets, non-woven bags and fabrics.

The BOC said the operation marks the biggest apprehension of smuggled cigarettes by MICP.

Possible charges may be filed against those behind the shipment for violation of Section 117 in relation to Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and other relative National Tobacco Administration (NTA) and Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR) rules and regulations, the bureau added.

Importer who squeezed in 63 reptiles inside luggage convicted for high-profile wildlife smuggling

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday (July 23) announced the conviction of an importer who tried to illegally sneak in 63 reptiles into the country.

According to the BOC, Judge Allan Ariola of Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 48, sentenced the importer a penalty of three to six months imprisonment for violation of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

The imported exotic wildlife include 54 Iguanas; two Basilisk; four Veiled Chameleon and three Bearded Dragon.

The importer, who flew in from Bangkok, Thailand, was intercepted in February 2019 by BOC personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 through an after-flight screening upon arrival.

The animals, which were concealed inside his luggage, had no import permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

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Smuggled cigarettes worth P107 million seized at Port of Davao

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Davao said it has intercepted four 40-foot containers of illegally imported cigarettes valued at P107,414,676.74 through the continuous coordination with the bureau’s Intelligence Group (IG) and Enforcement Group (EG).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the BOC said intelligence reports earlier revealed that the first two containers that arrived last July 10 at the Davao International Container Terminal (DICT) were said to contain 2,180 boxes of brand-new tissue papers.

“However, subsequent derogatory information was received from IG and EG that led to the issuance of a Pre-Lodgment Control Order (PLCO) after discovering that no goods declaration was lodged by the consignee and possible misdeclaration of the said commodity,” the bureau said.

The shipment was consigned to Golden Aark Enterprises.

Authorities then conducted non-intrusive inspection and 100% physical examination that yielded misdeclaration of goods as 1,205 boxes Astro Branded Cigarettes and 942 boxes of YS filter cigarettes resulting to the apprehension last July 14.

The BOC said two more containers arrived at the same terminal last July 12 declaring 1,940 boxes of the same commodity.

Authorities conducted x-ray inspection and 100% examination that revealed 942 boxes of YS filter cigarettes and 941 Fort Branded Cigarettes which were also apprehended last July 16 at DICT.

The agency noted that the previous apprehension had the offenders trying to outsmart the system by not declaring the shipment’s details in the e-manifest – a system by which BOC determines the cargo’s details and its intended port of destination.

However, intensified intel gathering revealed that the intended destination of these shipments was Davao; to which customs has sole jurisdiction in conducting examination.

“In the midst of the pandemic, Customs Davao shall ensure that its border security protocols, and coordination with partner agencies remain steadfast in securing the borders of Mindanao” Customs Davao District Collector, Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria said.

The bureau said Austria issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) to these illicit articles in violation of Executive Order No.245 “Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Leaf Tobacco and Tobacco Products”, Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) Law or R.A. 10643, otherwise known as “An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warning on Tobacco Products.” and section 117 of R.A. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Last June 3, 2020, the agency said that Sub-port Dadiangas in General Santos City also apprehended 1,325 boxes of smuggled cigarettes from Vietnam valued at more than Php 24 million.

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