Recently I posted an update on the trouble I was having getting connected with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Metro Manila. It seems their published email address is no longer valid, has been changed, and a possible oversight by the BAI by not updating that address on their website may have led to a “scam” opportunity for some low life somewhere that is afraid to go to work for a living.
Anyway, as I discussed in the update, we have accomplished everything that needed to be accomplished with the BAI, but have since received this email (exactly) as follows:
We acknowledged the receipt of your mail, i traveled to The Gambia for official visit.
We have new rules,our client have to pay first through western union before issuing import permits. Import Permits for 2 pets is $520,make the payment through western union to Gambia on this name; Mrs.Mary Taylor,Address/Destination:
Gambia Veterinary Health Center, Banjul, The Gambia.
NOTICE: the address “sent from” is the same address published on the BAI website. Now anyone who has ever been targeted by online scammers, such as those pesky and persistent and sometimes goofy Nigerian emails, knows a scam just by the way an email is structured. Besides, I would suggest that Mrs. Mary Taylor is not exactly a Filipino name and is consistent with more traditional English names used by online scammers, especially those generated in Africa.
So, to anyone who happens to take pets to the Philippines, please be advised that there is no cost to acquiring the permits initially, but there is a cost at the destination of PHP100 for the permit and PHP250 for each pet (for the first two pets), and PHP300 for each thereafter.
As I always mention….always contact the official authority involved in your endeavors and always confirm the information you receive through multiple sources if at all possible. In the case of my experience with the BAI, I’m glad I persisted with calling and finally talking to them in person. The same goes for any information you may find online, especially in blogs and forums. I have been misled before by so-called “boots on the ground” individuals. Verify, verify, verify!
I have sent an email message to the BAI suggesting that they review their website for accuracy.
That is all I can do.