MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned the public against telephone scams where some Filipinos are usual victims.
With this, BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison urged Filipinos to be cautious in dealing with foreigners who wants to befriend them.
“We advise our Filipino kababayans to exercise vigilance with their internet acquaintances to avoid being victimized by scammers,” he said in a statement.
Mison issued the warning after exposing the illegal activities involving foreign nationals who are seeking acquaintances through internet.
The modus operandi involves the supposed foreign national befriends a Filipino and arrange for a meeting and make it appear that they are arriving in the Philippines at a given date.
The victim will then receives a call from someone who claims to be an officer from the BI and demands money to “release” the foreign national from custody. Unsuspecting of the scam, the Filipino will remit money but never see the foreigner.
“Please be advised that immigration officers at the airport are not authorized to make the first contact with non-passengers. It is even more illegal to demand for money from anyone”, the BI official said.
He explained that the BI does not hold custody of arriving passengers unless they have been excluded for reasons enumerated in section 29 of the Philippine Immigration Act.
“Excluded passengers are informed of the reason for their exclusion and in such case, they may demand for a copy of the exclusion order. They will not be prohibited from making a call to their friends in order to seek assistance,” Mison added.
On the other hand, Filipinos with expected guests from another country who get in the same situation are advised to know the exact airport location and flight number of the passenger in order to verify the truthfulness of the claim.
“They may always call our hotline at (02)465-2400 to check if a certain passenger is actually in our custody at any of our airports,” Mison added.