"Love scammers" return as Philippines open borders for foreign tourists

Image from The Star/ANN

MANILA, March 15 (Xinhua): Philippine immigration authorities has warned against online scammers who prey on Filipinos through a "love scam," saying the online schemes are back in operation as the Philippines reopened its borders to foreign tourists.

"With the reopening of our borders to foreign tourists comes the return of the love scam," Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.

Love or romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim's affection and trust before eventually asking for a large sum of money from the victim.

Morente's warning came after the immigration bureau received a request from a victim last week, alleging that officers at the Davao international airport in the southern Philippines were holding her partner for carrying a large amount of cash in his handbag.

The victim showed screenshots of their conversations with a man who pretended to be Morente, demanding payment in exchange for the release of her fake partner.

"This scammer dared to use my name for his scheme," Morente said, adding that upon checking, no such foreign national arrived in Davao City.

"Do not fall prey to these swindlers and fraudsters that will promise you heaven and earth, only to be duped of your hard-earned money," he warned.

Last month, the Philippines reopened its borders to foreign tourists from countries and regions with visa-free arrangement after almost two years of pandemic lockdown.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said earlier that the country might allow all foreign tourists in starting April 1. - Xinhua

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