Customs dept alerts against fraud calls

New Delhi (| The government has alerted citizens against “fraudulent persons” posing as Indian Customs officers and cheating the public and has advised public that customs officers never contact anyone via phone call, SMS or demand money.

“Various incidents have come to light through news portals/social media platforms of fraudulent persons posing as Indian Customs officers cheating the public of their hard-earned money across the country. These frauds are primarily done using digital means like phone calls or SMS, and are focused on extracting money through the ‘purported’ fear of immediate penal action,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

In order to counter these frauds through public awareness, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is mounting a multi-modal awareness campaign that includes – Newspaper advertisements; SMS/Emails to the general public; Social Media Campaigns.

Public awareness campaigns by CBIC field formations across the country in coordination with local administration and trade bodies to spread awareness on this issue, it said, adding that CBIC advises the public to take measures to safeguard themselves from becoming victims of such scams by knowing a few facts as suggested by the department.

First, everyone should know that “Indian Customs officers never contact the general public via phone, SMS, or e-mail for payment of duty in private accounts. Disconnect calls and never respond to messages if you suspect fraud or encounter any irregularities.”

Never share or disclose personal information (Passwords, CVV, Aadhar number, etc.), or send money to unknown individuals or organizations without verifying their identity and legitimacy.

All communications from Indian Customs consist of a Document Identification Number (DIN), which can be verified on the CBIC website:

The CBIC has asked the public to immediately report such cases to or helpline number 1930. Some of the common modus operandi used by fraudsters are – Fake Calls/SMS wherein fraudsters posing as Courier officials/staff contact via calls, text messages, or emails, claiming that Customs has held a package or parcel and requires payment of Customs duties or taxes before it can be released.

These fraudsters use pressure tactics like impersonating Customs/Police/CBI officials to demand payment of customs duty or clearance fees for packages/gifts that purportedly have been received from a foreign country and require Customs clearance. Targeted individuals are asked to make payments for the release of their goods.

To demand money, the targeted persons are informed that their package has been seized by Customs due to illegal contents (such as drugs, foreign currency/fake passport/contraband items) or violations of Customs regulations. Fraudsters threaten legal action or fines and demand payment to resolve the issue, the Finance Ministry said.