DFA warns public vs passport appointment fixers, scams
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called on the public on Tuesday not to patronize Facebook pages and fixers who offer to reserve slots at the passport appointment system as these are all scams.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Joel Montales warned the public against unscrupulous individuals who use the passport appointment system to scam applicants.
“So we ask the public not to patronize these Facebook pages, these fixers, who offer their services for a fee. Wala pong bayad ang appointment system ng DFA,” Montales told reporters at the House of Representatives.
(The DFA’s appointment system is free.)
“And these are all scams, many are scams, and some are invitations to corrupt government employees and to cast doubt on the integrity of our online appointment system. Please don’t patronize them,” he added.
Montales said there are four types of scams that racketeers do using the passport appointment system.
First, he said, is when scammers offer slots, get payments, but do not produce appointments. The scammers fill up application form on behalf of their supposed clients, put fake barcodes, and appointment details.
“When the clients go to the go to our consular offices, these fake appointment applications are dishonored or not allowed,” he explained.
The second, the undersecretary said, is when individuals who are entitled of the courtesy lane—senior citizens, persons with disabilities—are led to believe that they need appointments.
The victims then pay the scammers so they would be referred to the courtesy lanes.
The third is when fixers pay government employees for endorsements to use the courtesy lane.
“So ‘di ba as I said, we honor some endorsements from government agencies. Some, they falsify the endorsement. Some, they get authentic endorsements but for a fee. So yun, kumbaga (simply put) some people are selling endorsements from government offices,” he said.
And the last is when the scammers ask people for their personal information which they would use to fill up the online appointment system.
“But it’s not a reserved slot for them. Pumipila lang sila (They just fall in line) and they apply on behalf of their clients. Kumbaga (Simply put), they act as agents of their clients,” he added.
Montales did not say which government agencies are involved in selling endorsements for courtesy lanes as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) investigations are still ongoing.
He warned that individuals involved in selling endorsements can face criminal charges. /je
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