Guwahati, June 13: The customs department has cautioned people not to fall prey to crime syndicates who are duping people by impersonating customs officials.
The department issued the warning after such a case came to light in Guwahati recently.
Deputy commissioner of Guwahati customs division Temsunaro Jamir, in a statement issued yesterday, said a recent case has been reported by a Guwahati-based individual where a caller, identifying himself as a deputy commissioner of customs, informed him of an impending auction of Apple iPhones at very cheap rates by the department.
“The target person was then asked to deposit a certain amount of money for clearance of customs duty to get the phones. The person was provided with a bank account number where the duty had to be deposited. They (frauds) usually display a sense of urgency and advise people not to delay the payment, as that might result in forfeiture of the package,” Jamir said.
When the person brought the matter to the notice of the customs officials, they conducted an inquiry and found that the call was made from Pune. The customs department also got the bank account blocked.
According to information received by the customs department, cases of people getting duped by fraudsters masquerading as customs officers are frequently reported from the region, particularly from Guwahati, Shillong, Kohima and Dimapur.
The deputy commissioner of customs clarified that neither the department, nor any of its officers make any unsolicited calls to anybody for deposit of customs duty.
“Auction notices are also not passed through telephone. We also like to inform that customs duty, if any, is always deposited in a government bank account and can be deposited only in designated banks. The public are hereby cautioned and advised to desist from making any such payment in the name of customs duty. It is also advised that whenever any such calls are received, the matter should be immediately reported to the local police station and to the jurisdictional customs office,” she said.
“It has been noticed that these criminals have a countrywide network and have spread their tentacles deep into the telecom subscriber database and even have found their way out in evading checks maintained by the country’s banking system,” Jamir said.