By Stephanie Sevillano
MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday urged the public to report fraudulent websites claiming to operate as electronic travel or eTravel sites.
“May mga nare-receive na complaints (There are complaints received) through socmed (social media) channels. (The public must) immediately report to CICC (Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center),” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval told the Philippine News Agency in a Viber message.
Sandoval made the statement following reports of fake eTravel sites requiring charges from travelers.
“The eTravel service is free of charge. Any website using the eTravel name and logo is fake and is a scam,” the BI said in an advisory.
Sandoval warned that those behind the illicit scheme may face charges for violation of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, in relation to computer-related fraud.
The public may send their complaints online via cicc.gov.ph/report.
The BI earlier launched the e-travel system to reduce the paper-based requirements of inbound and outbound travelers.
It is an interagency project with the Department of Tourism, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Bureau of Customs, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice, and the National Privacy Commission.
Fraud fugitives nabbed
The BI, meanwhile, arrested two Korean fugitives in Pampanga for their alleged involvement in fraud and other crimes in South Korea and the United States.
The suspects were identified as Kwon Junyoung, 38; and Seok Jongmin, 48; who were nabbed with the help of shared intelligence with Korean authorities and Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB).
“They will soon be deported to Korea and the US as summary deportation orders were already (filed) against them by the BI board of commissioners,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement.
According to the BI, Kwon is a telecommunication fraud syndicate member associated with voice phishing while pretending to be an investigator of the central prosecutor’s office in Seoul.
Seok, on the other hand, was charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft, with a warrant of arrest issued by the Western Texas district court, the BI added.
To date, the BI is working on the deportation procedure against the two undesirable aliens, as well as their inclusion on the country’s blacklisted foreigners. (PNA)