Immigration bureau warns Filipinos going abroad vs individuals claiming to facilitate departures in exchange for money

(Eagle News) — Filipinos going abroad should beware of individuals asking for money in exchange for their permission to depart amid COVID-19 restrictions, the Bureau of Immigration said.

The bureau made the statement after a Filipino who wanted to go to Dubai as a tourist was victimized by a certain James who claimed to be an immigration officer who could help her leave the country.

According to the bureau, the complainant initially transferred P7,000 through GCash, and then P28,500 through a bank transfer to the suspect.

She again later transferred P39,500 but was intercepted again.

“The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect but he made excuses about it. Upon verification with our records, we had no such employee,” Morente said.

Morente said the bureau sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation.

He said the fixer has been identified, and that he has instructed the bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and Intelligence Division to “coordinate with the NBI and ensure that this person faces the harshest penalties of the law.”

“Do not fall prey to these predators. They are sweet-talkers (who) will entice you to attempt to work illegally, but we have already measures in place to prevent that from happening,” Morente said.

“Report any fixing and extortion attempts to the police to make sure that they are arrested and they are prevented from victimizing other people again,” he added.