Filipinos in Dubai warned against passport extension scam
The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates warned Filipinos based there against a syndicate offering fake passport extensions.
Khaleej Times reported on Tuesday that the consulate sent out the advisory after it received two cases of passport tampering over the course of two weeks.
One case involved the spouse of a passport holder who paid 700 dirhams (about P9,000) for a fake extension stamp while the other was of a company that inquired about the consulate's alleged passport extension program.
Consul Ferdinand Flores, whose signature was forged on the fake stamp, said it was obviously a scam as his signature was stamped and not originally signed.
One victim paid a renewal fee of 240 dirhams (about P3,100) and emergency passport extension fee of Dh120 (P1,550).
Consul Paul Raymond Cortes clarified that the consulate stopped extending passports for the purpose of visa stamping and travel purposes, except for family and medical emergencies, since January 1.
Meanwhile, deputy consul general Giovanni Palec dissuaded Filipinos from extending their passports as the Philippines already implemented the e-passport or biometric passport system.
"Even if you extend it, once you pass through the immigration, it will still show that it has already expired," Palec told Khaleej Times. "That's why we don't do extensions anymore and besides a new passport can now be issued in three weeks time."
The Philippine Consulate sought the help of the Dubai police to identify the culprits behind the extension scheme. — APG, GMA News