Securing a passport appointment online with the DFA has become a laborious task for Filipinos as of late. It has become close to impossible to snag a date and time to visit your preferred DFA branch for your passport application or renewal to be processed. Pinoys, especially those who travel frequently for work and business, could not help but vent their frustration (and desperation!) through social media, blogs, and random television and radio interviews. And why not, when one’s right to travel abroad is practically hindered simply because the Department of Foreign Affairs could not accommodate the volume of applicants.
This practice, however, of airing grievances in public opens doors to more problems than solutions. While the DFA heeded the public’s clamor to open more appointment schedules (and soon!), scalawags also found an opportunity to earn fast, dishonest cash out of the public’s desperation to get their travel documents. It wasn’t long before social media channels became tools for fixers to start working their charm to unassuming Filipinos who could not wait to get an appointment with the DFA online.
Of course, the DFA was quick to respond to the alarming number of scams happening right under its nose. Through the help of investigators, they were able to uncover four types of scams that fixers employ to pick on passport applicants.
To spread awareness and warn the public from falling into the traps of these heartless crooks, we lifted some important information about passport appointment scammers and fixers and are sharing it in our page. We still believe that awareness and vigilance will help us get ahead of these criminals and save us the trouble of wasted time, money, and effort.
Types of Passport Fixers
- Fixers who offer slots for a fee but do not actually get the promised appointments.
Applicants will be asked to pay a certain amount that supposedly buys them an appointment slot with the DFA. They are given application forms to fill out, complete with barcodes and other appointment details. Everything looks authentic except that the entire process is a hoax. Come appointment date, the poor applicant is informed by the DFA that he or she does not have an appointment and the documents given to her by the fixer are fake.
- Fixers who sell courtesy lane passes.
The DFA accommodates Senior Citizens, PWDs, pregnant women, children 7 years old and below, Solo Parent ID holders, and migrant workers in its Priority Lanes. These applicants no longer need to set an appointment online and can simply visit any DFA office anytime for their passport application.
Crooks sell this privilege to people who cannot get an appointment online.
Of course, the trade is illegal and the privilege is non-existent.
- Obtaining endorsements from government agencies.
This is more commonly known as an inside job where the fixer (who stays outside the DFA offices) are in cahoots with a government employee who supposedly has access to the appointments. They sell these endorsements to passport applicants – endorsements could be genuine, but the fact that it is being sold makes it illegal.
- A fixer fills out an online application form using the personal information of their clients.
No one should apply on your behalf, not even fill out your online application form. If anyone offers to do this for you for a fee, know that you are already being scammed.
Ultimately, the idea is to make the applicant believe that he or she has been given a confirmed appointment with the DFA, minus the hassle of waiting for dates and times to be freed up online, in exchange for a few thousands of pesos. The DFA does not sell these appointment slots and so anyone who does is automatically considered a fixer. And any transaction made with these crooks will not be honored by the DFA, no matter how much money you spent to get the appointment confirmed.
As the famous saying goes, walang manloloko kung walang magpapa loko.
Don’t be any of the two.