MOFA urges public to stay alert to passport theft scams
Taipei, July 9 (CNA) Several Taiwanese recently gave their passports to a person offering a great opportunity overseas only to find they were the victims of fraud, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday, and it urged people not to give their passports to strangers.
According to news media ETtoday, a man recruited Taiwanese via Facebook to build concert stages in Australia, promising free travel and high salaries.
He asked recruits to hand over their passports so that he could help them process the necessary formalities for going abroad.
Several Taiwanese believed the man and gave him their passports, but they later were unable to get in touch with the contact or get their passports back.
Fearing their passports would be sold to fraud rings, some of them reported the situation to the government.
MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the ministry has received word of 19 people who handed their passports to a stranger to work and travel overseas only to find they were victims of a scam aimed at getting hold of Taiwan passports.
Lee did not say if the 19 victims were all part of the same fraud case or how widespread such scams are.
He simply urged travelers to choose trustworthy travel agencies and intermediaries and never give their passports to people they do not know or whose identities are not clear.
(By Elaine Hou and intern Hsu Tzu-ling)enditem/ls
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