The Customs and Excise Division (CED) has issued an alert that persons are impersonating its officers and fleecing citizens of their money to clear their goods, through direct cash payment or bank deposit in private accounts.

According to an advisory issued by the CED, members of the public are being targeted via email and social media and are tricked into paying the impersonators excessive sums of money.

“The Customs and Excise Division (CED) has been reliably informed of persons, both locally and internationally, purporting to be officers of the CED who are soliciting monies from members of the public for the clearance of goods,” the CED advisory states.

It adds: “The Public is hereby reminded that the payment of taxes due on the importation of goods into Trinidad and Tobago is payable to the Comptroller of Customs and Excise. These payments are to be made directly to the Division’s cashiers where an official receipt will be issued.”

The Division suggests calling the authorities in the event a person is contacted in this way.

“Members of the public are advised to contact the nearest Police Station and the Comptroller of Customs and Excise if approached by anyone purporting to be a Customs and Excise Officer/Official via any medium, soliciting monies for the clearance of goods,” the CED urges.