(CMR) Less than one week after Jamaica's customs and immigration officials launched their paperless entry system, it was hacked by scammers who have been charging unsuspecting visitors a fee to fill out a form that is free of cost.
The system, which came into effect last Friday, 1 September, requires travelers to Jamaica to fill out the C5 customs/ immigration form online. This is a requirement for persons traveling to the island, whether they are residents of Jamaica or visiting.
The online system replaces forms that are usually issued on airplanes, and there is no cost to filling out the form.
However, according to local reports, thousands of visitors to Jamaica are being lured into paying US$35 to enter the country using the new online form by hackers who have hijacked the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency system.
Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang told journalists, “We’re really having some challenges that I need to mention. As soon as it went online, individuals are hacking into the system and selling the service. It works, but it’s not part of what we’re offering. The service is entirely free. It’s to provide better-quality service to our citizens and to ensure that our visitors have a smooth transfer through our airports and have a good experience at the airport.”
He warned Jamaicans and visitors alike to use only the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) www.enterjamaica.com or Jamaica Customs websites to access the forms.
According to the Jamaica Gleaner, there are at least five other websites offering the form at a cost.