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Public warned vs. passport assistance from FB groups, strangers

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has warned the public against seeking passport assistance from strangers offering services on Facebook and other social media chat groups.

The DFA Office of Consular Affairs said it received reports on Filipinos who booked their passport appointment with help from strangers online and ended up paying more.

“The department received reports today from passport applicants who booked their passport appointment with assistance from unknown individuals online and ended up paying more than what the DFA collects for passport issuance, and receiving tampered application forms and/or incorrect instructions, such as advice to pursue their appointment at a schedule or Consular Office different from the actual appointment schedule and site,” it said in an advisory sent to reporters late Tuesday.

The DFA urged applicants who made an appointment with a third party and are doubtful of the authenticity of their application, to contact its hotline at 8234-3488 to verify their applications.

“Applications that were made through a third party will be accepted for processing only after the appointment and the identity of the applicant has been verified, and processing will only be done at the Consular Office where the appointment was made,” it said.

Passport appointments can be booked directly through https://passport.gov.ph.

While passport appointment slots are limited due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) protocols, it said applicants with urgent travel requirements, such as overseas Filipino workers, may email oca.cl@dfa.gov.ph for accommodation in DFA Aseana or at the nearest Consular Office by sending an appointment request by email to the concerned office directly. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

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