CHEATS posing as officers of the Perak Customs Department may make their rounds to dupe businessmen in Ipoh this month.
Department director Datuk Mohd Sehan Awang Aim said the people should thus take a good look at such people and ask for their authorisation card before divulging details of their business to them.
He said they should be very sus-picious if the ‘officers' brought up the subject of payment and asked for money, stressing that depart- ment officers were not allowed to do so.
He said in the past, there had been cases of bogus officers cheating people out of their money, telling them that it was for donations or 'payments' to the department.
As the department makes its rounds this month to survey the number of businesses subjected to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the public must be prepared to face some of these conmen, he said.
Often, Md Sehan said these con- men used the names of high-ranking officials including his name to convince the people to part with their money.
He said the public should lodge a complaint with the department at 05-5273667 or call the Customs hotline at 1800-88-8855 if the subject of money was brought up.
“Bear in mind that customs officers are always in their uniform and carry their authorisation card with them when conducting surveys and checks,” he said.
He said the public must also help the department to eradicate smuggling activities by not buying smuggled goods.
“Smugglers will carry on with their activities as long as there is demand for their goods.
“Do not base your decision to buy something only on its price as you could be endangering your health by consuming fake cigarettes and liquor,” he said.
The department had also been active in its anti-smuggling activities, Md Sehan said.
In 2005, Perak Customs seized RM3.2mil worth of cigarettes including kretek with an unpaid duty of RM10.7mil.
He said RM15.7mil worth of smuggled goods including luxury cars, liquor, fireworks and telecommunication gadgets like mobile phones, with an unpaid duty of RM18.4mil were seized.
“The department, however, managed to collect RM862.6mil in taxes for the year, which was 16.8% above its target of RM737.4mil,” he said.
As for manufacturers whose annual turnover exceeded RM100,000, he advised them to make a declaration to the department.
“Many do not do so to avoid paying sales tax. However, in making the declaration they will be eligible for various forms of tax exemptions particularly on raw materials,” he said.