CBIC Launches Awareness Campaign to Combat Frauds in the Name of Indian Customs

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Mumbai:  The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has initiated a comprehensive awareness campaign to tackle fraudulent activities exploiting the name of Indian Customs. The campaign urges the public to be vigilant and recognize the tactics used by fraudsters.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Finance, recent reports from news outlets and social media platforms have highlighted a troubling trend where scam artists deceive individuals into paying money by falsely claiming to avoid legal penalties.

These scams primarily utilize digital channels such as phone calls and SMS, with fraudsters creating fear of immediate legal consequences to extort money.

The CBIC’s awareness campaign encompasses multiple fronts, including newspaper advertisements to reach a wide audience with critical information about these scams. Additionally, mass SMS and email alerts are being sent to inform individuals about fraudsters’ methods and how to protect themselves.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are also being utilized to spread awareness and engage with the public on this crucial issue. Furthermore, CBIC field offices nationwide are collaborating with local authorities and trade bodies to conduct public awareness campaigns, ensuring comprehensive outreach.

To safeguard against falling victim to these scams, the CBIC advises several precautions. Firstly, the public is reminded that Indian Customs officials do not demand payment of duties via phone, SMS, or email. If contacted for such payments, individuals should disconnect and ignore the communication.

Protecting personal information is emphasized as crucial. Citizens are urged not to disclose sensitive details such as passwords, CVV numbers, or Aadhar information to unknown entities.

Moreover, individuals should refrain from transferring money to unfamiliar individuals or organizations without verifying their legitimacy. Official communications from Indian Customs always include a Document Identification Number (DIN), which can be verified on the CBIC’s official website to confirm authenticity.

In the event of suspected fraud, the CBIC encourages prompt reporting. Incidents can be reported through the dedicated cybercrime portal at cybercrime.gov.in or by calling the helpline number 1930. Swift reporting enables authorities to take immediate action and prevent further fraud.

The CBIC has identified several common tactics employed by fraudsters, including posing as courier or Customs officials via fake calls or SMS. These tactics often involve false claims about packages held by Customs, demanding payment of duties or taxes for release.

Another tactic involves impersonating officials from Customs, police, or other agencies, threatening legal action if payments are not made promptly for purportedly seized packages containing illegal items.

By launching this awareness campaign, the CBIC aims to empower the public with knowledge to identify and thwart fraudulent schemes, thereby safeguarding individuals from financial exploitation.

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